Front and center in the national government’s agenda has always been the safety and welfare of Filipino workers.

This is the message of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, in reference to the January 2014 Survey of the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) on Safety and Health in Workplace, which shows that a total of 11,140, or 54 percent, of the total 20,635 occupational injuries in 2011 were brought by superficial injuries and open wounds.

“The advent of industrialization and the continuing introduction of technological innovations in our country today have correspondingly increased the number and types of occupational hazards that our workers are exposed to,” Baldoz said.

According to the survey, other occupational injuries accounted one-tenth each, namely dislocations, sprains and strains with 2,460 cases, or 11.9 percent; fractures with 2,082 cases, or 10.1 percent; and burns, corrosions, scalds and frostbites with 2,073 cases, or 10 percent.

The rest of the types of injuries had a total share of 14 percent, to wit: concussions and internal injuries, 953 cases; acute poisoning, 229 cases; traumatic amputations, 220 cases; and other cases, 7 cases.

“We will be twice as intense as in the past years in pushing for zero tolerance on work-related injuries and illnesses, and we will strive further to make work processes as safe as they can be,” Baldoz said.

“Investing on occupational safety and health does not only mean less risk of accidents. It also enhances the efficiency and viability of the enterprise, through less workdays lost; and, thus, boils down to the mutual benefit of both the workers and employers whatever industry they may be in,” she said.

Citing the survey, the labor and employment chief noted that the highest number of injuries occurred in the manufacturing industry with 10,344 cases, or 50.12 percent. This is followed by Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing with 2,492 cases, or 12.07 percent; Wholesale and Retail Trade, 1,614 or 7.82 percent; Transportation and Storage, 1,478 or 7.16 percent; and Accommodation and Food Service Activities, 911 or 4.41 percent.

The survey also shows that 8,113 cases, or 40 percent, of occupational injuries affected wrist and hand. Other parts of the body that were also affected were, as follow: lower extremities, 4,238 or 20.5 percent; arm and shoulder, 3,345 or 16.2 percent; and head, 3,093 or 15.0 percent.

Of the total number of injuries surveyed, at least 7,466 cases, or 36.2 percent, were brought about by stepping on, striking against or struck by objects.

Other injuries were due to the following circumstances: being caught in or between objects at 3,959 cases, or 19.2 percent; falls of person, 2,582 or 12.5 percent; struck by falling objects, 1,878 or 9.1 percent; exposure to extreme temperature, 1,767 or 8.6 percent; over-exertion or strenuous movement, 1,459 or 7.1 percent; exposure to harmful substances, 848 or 4.1 percent; contact with electric current, 402 or 1.9 percent; and others, 275 or 1.3 percent.

Saying that the DOLE never compromises when it comes to the safety of work-sites and healthy workers, Baldoz said that the DOLE has held consultations with stakeholders to amend and consolidate the guidelines on construction safety for more effective implementation.

“Accidents can be prevented; and we have to constantly and relentlessly work towards zero accident in all industries,” she said, adding:

“I therefore urge all sectors concerned-whether they be in labor, management, government or the academe-to extend their full support to achieve the noble objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.”

END/hjtg

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