Almost 200 representatives from various BPO companies in region six and thousands more who watched via Facebook benefitted from the discussions during first episode of the PagOSHwag Webinar Series conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Center- Regional Extension Unit VI (OSHC-REU VI) today, August 7, 2020.

“Safety cannot be compromised especially in this time. The public information campaign is very timely. I believe that for us to develop safety and health advocates, we should always start from making people aware of the importance of these practices in the workplace,” said DOLE Regional Office VI Director Cyril Ticao.

The two-hour webinar featured lectures on guidelines and compliance to occupational safety and health (OSH) issuances and best OSH practices in the IT-BPM Industry.

Dr. Jehremias Florante, an occupational health officer of the OSHC discussed the salient features of the DOLE Department Circular No. 1 series of 2008 or the Policy Guidelines Governing the OSH of Workers in the Call Center Industry. According to this issuance, all companies engaged in the IT-BPM industry must formulate their own workplace OSH policy and programs on hazard and risk prevention and control, capability building for members of the SHC and workers, and referral and access to medical and welfare services.

 IT-BPM companies are required to have a sufficient number of trained safety officers and occupational health personnel in compliance to the provisions of RA 11058 and DOLE DO 198-18, and to establish their safety and health committee. They must also provide OSH & welfare facilities needed by qualified individuals with specific needs for workers such as pregnant or lactating women, young, older, & differently-abled workers. Dr. Florante also discussed the key principles in the implementation of workplace policies & programs on drug-free workplace, TB, HIV & AIDS, hepatitis B, & CoViD-19

The Callbox Lead Management Solutions, a BPO company recommended by the DOLE as compliant to the OSHS, shared its best OSH practices to be emulated by other BPO establishments. Emmanuel Obligar, safety officer of call box said that discussed that Hazards Identification and Risk Assessment and Control is very important. This helped them recognize risk factors such as long shifts, overuse of computers, invariable and sedentary work, poor working conditions, intensive talking, high intensity sound from headsets and low job satisfaction, which cause health concerns like musculoskeletal disorders, eyestrain, voice disorders, hearing problems, and Psychosocial & Work Stressors. Once these were identified, they were able to provide solutions which became their best practices such as providing ergonomic equipment and measures, breaks and exercises, and stress reduction techniques, periodic health exams, comfortable temperature in the workplace, and proper lighting.

The OSHC-REU VI will continue to hold PagOSHwag webinars featuring best OSH practices for different industries. The title PagOSHwag is coined from the Ilonggo term “pag-uswag” which means progress and OSH which denotes advancement through OSH.

END/ DJ Romero with reports from C Diongzon and M Melocoton