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PIA Press Release

DOLE releases AH1N1 guidelines for workplaces

by M ALoterte

Legazpi City (5 June) -- Workplace health was emphasized in the recent meeting of the Bicol Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the issue of Influenza AH1N1 awareness and preparedness.

DOLE Bicol information officer Raymond P. Escalante said that employers are enjoined to maintain a clean work area and provide household disinfectant, water, and soap in washrooms and toilets.

DOLE announced in yesterday's advisory, that the order enjoins employers and workers the need to stay healthy and keep a healthy workplace.

The advisory requires employers of workplaces where workers are at risk of infection to prepare immediate protective measures in correcting or removing such danger.

DOLE has recommended a screening program on AH1N1 to be installed by the DOH in the different workplaces across the region and in the business establishments.

Employers are also urged to provide Personal Protective Equipment like respirators, gowns, and gloves to be worn by workers while at work.

In workplaces where there are suspected AH1N1 workers, the company is required to immediately isolate the worker in a separate well-ventilated room. The work area must also be decontaminated with appropriate disinfectant like chlorine bleaching solution.

If the worker is not suspected to have influenza, it is the responsibility of the employer to allow the worker to take prudent measures to limit the spread of the communicable diseases.

Escalante said that employer must allow the worker to stay at home, take adequate rest, take plenty of fluids, and seek medical care.

The worker's leave of absence may be charged to the sick or vacation leave credits under the company policy. If the credits are used up, the employer could consider granting leave of absence without pay.

However, DOLE stressed the need for the employers' flexibility and compassion in granting additional leave with pay. (PIA V) [top]

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