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PIA Press Release

Port reps brush up on safety and health updates

Davao City (27 October) -- As industrial hazards escalate in modern work settings, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) here steps up on raising awareness on Basic Occupational Safety and Health Standards (BOSH) Course in tandem with the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Thirty-five (35) participants from Luzon and Mindanao joined the BOSH seminar held at the PPA Port District Office-Southern Mindanao Training Center (PDO-SoMin TC) on October 19-23, 2009. Representatives of the said seminar come from local cargo handling operators, in-house PPA ports and terminals safety staff, private ports and one foreign shipping company based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Port District Manager Abdussabor Sawadjaan, the host official of PPA PDO-SoMin expressed during the course orientation that safety and health consciousness is one of the cornerstones of port operations management. He stressed that this mindset should be a daily practice in the workplace to fulfill the Zero Accident Program (ZAP) commitment.

OSH standards are mandatory rules and standards implemented to eliminate, if not reduce occupational hazards in every workplace. It provides protection for each worker from dangers of injury, illness, physical harm or death while doing one's job, particularly in areas where the interplay of people and elements such as corrosives, electricity, flammables, metals, microbes, oils, virus, among others are relatively high.

Those establishments engaged in air, land and sea transportation are not covered by OSH standards except their garages, dry docks, port hangars, maintenance and repair shops.

Port operational areas, hence, particularly are hazard-prone as they serve as the conduits of various goods and humans whose interactions bring about possible threats to health, safety and even security of the area. Thus, dockworkers such as arrastre and stevedores, who directly deal with chemicals, equipment, machines or come in contact with dangerous cargoes apart from the natural and man-made elements exposure everyday are most prone to physical stressors and threats while at work which may affect their well-being at present or in the long-term.

Every organization or place of employment covered in the OSH manual as amended in 1989 is to be inspected at least once yearly to determine compliance with OSH standards. Special visits may also be authorized by the DOLE to investigate accidents, occupational illnesses or dangerous occurrences, especially those resulting in permanent total disability or death due to working conditions, environmental contaminants and physical conditions.

Annual trainings and updates on OSH are being targeted for those assigned in the implementation of health and safety standards in their respective organizations such as Doctors, Medics, Industrial Nurses, Safety Officers, and mostly Field Supervisors/Managers. These are the core staff who are in the position to model and teach principles and practices on OSH standards in their respective working environment.

This year's PPA organized five-day OSH intensive training is facilitated by resource speakers from the OSHC itself who are experts on their fields, namely: Training Specialist II Marnie Pebrada (Unsafe/Unhealthy Acts or Conditions); Engr. Alex Marlo Sacabon (Housekeeping Materials Handling and Storage, Electrical Safety, Personal Protective Equipment and Safety Inspection); Engr. Onna Cruz (Fire Safety, Machine Safety and Development/Improvement of OSH Programs at the Establishment Level); Engr. Nelia Granadillos (Industrial Hygiene and Control Measures) and; Dr. Maria Beatriz Villanueva (Workplace Hazards and Their Potential Health Effects).

Mr. Arvin Dadulo, the Acting Port Equipment Management Training Chief of the PPATC served as the overall course supervisor.

The course modules covering topics such as the Introduction to OSH, Occupational Safety, Occupational Environment, Occupational Health, Responses to OSH Issues/Concerns and Re-Entry Planning were interspersed in integrative workshop type processing of inputs to maximize participation and absorption of concepts.

"Although we already have a Safety Program I learned that there are illnesses which our laborers contract on the job, especially skin irritations especially while working in the ship's hatch. When I report to my station, I will push for the provision of more physical protective gears such as masks, gloves, raincoats and towels," General Manager Concepcion Dulay of B.S.D. Arrastre and Stevedoring Services based in Culion, Palawan revealed. BSD is engaged in manual cargo handling of basic commodities for inter-island routes.

GM Dulay will also ensure that drinking water will be placed within every worker's reach to avoid heat stroke, she concluded during their integration activity. (PIA) [top]

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