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The world needs a global accelerator for jobs and social protection

The world needs a global accelerator for jobs and social protection

In a statement to the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, warned of a two-track recovery and emphasized the need to increase investments in universal social protection, decent work and a green transition.

Employers and workers support the new COVID-19 risk assessment service for enterprises

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Employers and workers support the new COVID-19 risk assessment service for enterprises
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The ILO-WHO International Chemical Safety Cards collection are now translated into 11 languages, in addition to English

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The ILO-WHO International Chemical Safety Cards collection are now translated into 11 languages, in addition to English

The International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs), a joint ILO and WHO activity with the support from the European Commission, is now available in 11 languages in addition to English. The most recent language addition is Korean. The technical translation of the English collection of ICSCs into Korean language is the collaborative work of the South […]

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ILO collaborates with two Indonesian State-Owned Companies on HIV self-screening

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ILO collaborates with two Indonesian State-Owned Companies on HIV self-screening

To scale up the access on HIV prevention, testing and treatment in Indonesia, the ILO is going to collaborate with two state-owned companies on HIV self-screening (HIVSS) programme. PT Pertamina (Persero), an oil and gas company and PT Waskita Karya (Persero), a construction company. These two companies are known for their non-discriminatory policy and their commitment to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS at the workplace.The implementation of the HIV self-screening is based on the ILO-WHO Joint Guideline on HIVST at workplace. The guideline, developed in 2018 aims to increase HIV awareness and scale up the strategy at workplace that makes HIV testing services more accessible and appealing to those in need. To date, 59 countries have adopted HIVST policies and many others are developing them.Early D. Nuriana, ILO’s programme officer for HIV/AIDS, stated that the ILO at the global level has collaborated with WHO and Unitaid-PSI under the STAR III initiative to implement HIVST in Africa, such as Kenya and Zambia. “We hope to extend our programme to Indonesia, following the strong collaboration between the Ministry of Health and STAR III Project which has developed a Technical Guideline on HIVSS,” she explained said during the Executive Brief Meeting with the two companies on 8 September.The pilot HIVSS programme at these two companies is being conducted for four months from September to December 2021 under the assistance of the ILO’s partner, Kusuma Buana Foundation, a non-governmental organization deals with HIV prevention in the world of work. For this programme, the ILO provides 5,000 HIVSS tools for the two companies. The ILO also provides technical assistances for the companies to adapt the Guidelines from the Ministry of Health as well as the ILO/WHO into companies’ policies and programmes as well as supports the implementation of HIVSS and assists in the coordination with Ministry of Health for referral services.Meanwhile, the companies are obliged to formulate relevant policies and integrate the HIVSS into existing companies’ occupational safety and health (OSH) mechanisms, raise the employees’ awareness about HIVSS and provide relevant trainings.“The ILO’s HIVSS uses an Oral Fluid Test method. This a practical, simple method that can easily be done by the workers themselves,” added Early. She also hoped the HIVSS would inspire more companies to implement HIV prevention at workplaces and increase the uptake of HIV testing as it offers workers greater confidentiality and autonomy. The Senior Vice President QHSE & System of PT Waskita Karya (Persero) Tbk, Subhan, positively welcome the collaboration on HIVST programme. He believed that this programme could effectively prevent HIV transmission at workplace. “The HIVSS is an effective programme for HIV prevention, especially in time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added. A similar support was also given by the Senior Vice President HSSE of PT Pertamina (Persero) Tbk, Sahadi. “The HIVSS programme can contribute to HIV prevention at workplace. This is a good step towards the efforts to end AIDS by 2030. Indonesia is categorized as low concentrated epidemic level among key population with the estimation of 543.000 people living with HIV. However, the 2020 data of the Ministry of Health showed that 68 percent of people living with HIV were from non- key population with the high prevalence among productive ages.

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Smart working to maintain workers’ mental health for business continuity in time of the pandemic

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Smart working to maintain workers’ mental health for business continuity in time of the pandemic

Declared as a pandemic in March 2020, the COVID-19 has negatively impacted more than 29 million Indonesian workers. In addition to various economic problems causing business closures, reduction of workforce, the pandemic has increased the cases of domestic violence and disrupted workers’ mental health.

A woman worker working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic

A quick survey by Tempo.co found that 72.4 percent of 2,700 readers participated in the survey admitted to having mental health problems. The is in line with the findings of Ipsos and the World Economic Forum which recorded 13,000 workers in 28 countries experienced mental disorders due to precarious employment and changes in routine.Mental health problems among workers have negatively affected the global economy to US$ 1 trillion in lost productivity. In Switzerland, for example, the cost of work-related stress during the pandemic has increased 600 million Swiss Francs per month from 7.6 billion Swiss Francs before the outbreak. The trend of increased cases of mental health problems during the pandemic was discussed in the virtual discussion Ngobrol@Tempo entitled “Pandemic Taking Toll on Workers’ Mental Health: How ‘Smart Working’ Works” on Thursday, 9 September. The Director of Mental Health and Drugs at the Ministry of Health, Celestinus Eigya Munthe, confirmed the increasing cases of 6.8% anxiety and 8.5% depression. “The Ministry of Health noted that in 2020, 18,000 people experienced mental disorders, 23,000 suffered from depression and 1,163 attempted suicides. Therefore, the government has provided telemedicine services through an application named Sehat Jiwa, where workers can do free consultation and counselling to cope with workplace stress,” he said.The mental health problems experienced by workers, if not addressed immediately, may lead to lower business productivity. This would pose a potential threat to the government’s attempts to recover the conditions of economy and health.For this reason, Nuri Purwito Adi, University of Indonesia’s Head of Specialist on Occupational Medicine Study Programme, emphasized the importance of recognizing mental disorders mainly caused by psychological and emotional factors. The observed signs range from psychosomatic symptoms and nausea to significant behaviour changes and use of drugs. He suggested that workers who desire to maintain a good work-life balance need to have good communications with their family and company. “We need to know when we act as worker and as a household member. Time commitment should be agreed within the work team,” said Nuri.

Interactive talkshow on workers’ mental health in time of the pandemic

Hence, how do companies anticipate the threat of mental health problems for their employees? The representative of PT Mitsubishi Motors Krama Yudha Indonesia, Rakhmat Aji Pratomo, said that the company has developed a mitigation mechanism by forming a special team for COVID-19 prevention. In addition to ensuring health protocols and conditions in the workplace, this team focuses on mental health of workers. The team implements and monitors the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set by the company on, among others, working hours, health service supports, work assignments and employees’ mobility, especially when working from home. “The company also closely works with the trade union. To realize decent work, the involvement of workers in decision-making is significantly important. The activities can be simple, for example, by delivering food gift to worker’s home,’’ shared Aji.Meanwhile, Grace Monica Halim, Technical Staff of ILO Geneva, underscored that mental health has become the concern of the ILO long before the COVID-19 was declared as a global pandemic. “Health issues are not only physical, but also mental. Stress can cause other effects, including work accidents, decreased work quality,” she stated. Three ILO’s Conventions Nos. 155, 161 and 187 cover mental health issues under the principles of occupational safety and health (OSH). In relations to smart working, Grace said that it is part of decent work. “Because smart working is human-centered. The point is that workers must know their rights,” she stressed. Negative stigma against workers with mental health disorders remains a big challenge for workers to ask for help. “They do not have courage to seek help as they are afraid of being stigmatized,” explained Grace, stressing that this kind of perception need to be eliminated immediately for the benefits of workers and the company. “For this reason, the ILO always encourages dialogue between workers and employers to eliminate stigmas like this.”Furthermore, to ensure business continuity and job security during the pandemic, including workers’ mental health, the ILO is currently initiating a COVID-19 risk assessment service in the workplace targeting 1,500 workplaces in Indonesia. Through this service, companies will be provided with technical assistance to be able to safely continue and expand business operations during the pandemic. For registration and further information, please visit ilocovidproject.id.

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ILO-Ministry of Manpower launch a Guideline for Labour Inspection in Time of Pandemic

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ILO-Ministry of Manpower launch a Guideline for Labour Inspection in Time of Pandemic

The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower, with support from the ILO, recently issued and launched a Guideline for Labor Inspection in Time of Pandemic on 2 September, as a response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the world of work. The Guideline aims to optimize the performance of labour inspectors in dealing with new ways of working such as working from home, digitalization, e-commerce and flexible working hours.

The launch of Labour Inspection Guideline in the Time of the Pandemic

Haiyani Rumondang, Director General on Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stated that the Guideline is aspired to improve the quality and effectiveness of labour inspection mechanisms to be more integrated and credible. “It is part of the Ministerial labour inspection reform under our nine key strategy programmes that also include, among others, transformations in learning centers, job link and match, industrial relations, digitalization and youth employment,” she said before more than 2,100 viewers and participants.“The Guideline can help labour inspectors dealing with inspection challenges faced during the pandemic and safeguarding the application of labour compliance and international labour standards,” Michiko stated, adding that it could also enhance the contribution of labour inspectors to the prevention of COVID-19 at workplaces.Referring to the Manpower Ministerial Decree No. 33 of 2016 on Labour Inspection Procedures, the Guideline provides instructions for labour inspectors on inspection procedures during a pandemic, starting with planning, implementation and reporting. The Guideline also introduces the use of technology, such as drones, in conducting highly effective surveillance activities in time of pandemic.Good practices on online labour inspection mechanisms

Welcoming the use of technology for labour inspection, Angga Suanggana, a labour inspector from the Provincial Manpower Office of Yogyakarta, shared his online labour inspection programme through video inspections, zoom meetings and online inspection forms. “Out of 57 companies, 40 companies have taken part in our online inspections. More socialization to companies are needed as not all companies are familiar with this new, online approach,” Angga told.Similarly, Bukti Rantau, a labour inspector from the Provincial Manpower Office of Riau Islands, has made the best use of smartphone and smart application to conduct online labour inspection. “Due to the geographic nature of Riau Islands and the travel restriction, we need to apply the online mechanism. However, we do not only focus on labour compliance issues, but also cover issues on industrial relations and protection of workers,” he said.At the enterprise level, Sri Melga Rahmawati, Compliance Manager & Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Expert of PT Shinwon Indonesia, and Achmad A. Miftakhurrohman, General Manager of PT Pertamina Hulu Energi Offshore North West (PHE ONWJ, also focused on the online inspection mechanisms to protect both workers and the companies. Both companies focused on daily inspections by conducting online health assessments, health protocols and vaccinations as well as by strengthening the roles of the company’s OSH Committee. Independent and self-audit mechanism was also promoted by the Better Work Indonesia (BWI) programme, a partnership between the ILO and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of World Bank Group, to its hundreds of participating factories in garment sector. Nenden Aminah, Team Leader and Head of Compliance Assessment Tools (CAT) Focal Point BWI, explained that the BWI has developed various online mechanisms, including virtual company’s tour, virtual services through the OSH Committee and the Bipartite Cooperation as well as virtual compliance check. Maintaining balance between online and offline inspections
Commenting on the usage of technology and the application of online inspection mechanism, Rene Robert, ILO’s Specialist on Labour Administration and Labour Inspecton, reminded the participants the importance of on-site inspections. “Self-assessments are not a substitute for labour inspectors as the important roles of the inspectors include to directly speak and interview workers in a confidential way and to get the full insights about the real condition,” he said.In addition, he also explained that in time of the pandemic, labour inspectors crucially need to focus on occupational illnesses and diseases, particularly the infectious disease management. “This is also the highlight of the ASEAN Labour Inspection Conference 2021. Therefore, labour inspections should maintain well-coordination with public health authorities,” he concluded.The ILO’s support to the Guideline was given through its Occupational Safety and Health and Income Support in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Project. Funded by the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Project aims to strengthening OSH measures to facilitate return to work in acceptable conditions of safety and health after COVID 19 lockdown, particularly in garment sector.

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OSH specialists play a key role in COVID-19 prevention at workplaces

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OSH specialists play a key role in COVID-19 prevention at workplaces

COVID-19 prevention at the workplace (c) ILO/F. Latief Around 100 occupational safety and health (OSH) specialists from the Indonesian Occupational Health Doctors Association (IDKI) actively participated in one-day ILO’s training on the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic at the workplaces. Held by end of July, the training, “Prevention of COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases at and through Workplaces”, aimed to strengthen the preventive measures of COVID-19 at the enterprise level.During the training, the specialists learnt about methodologies and practices in assessing and identifying risk of infection at workplaces. They also deepened their knowledge on the transmission mechanisms of the pandemic and other infectious diseases as well as shared good examples of COVID-19 preventive measures at their workplaces.“The contribution of the participating OSH specialists will improve recommended preventive practices to manage workplace safety and health,” said Michiko Miyamoto, ILO Country Director in Indonesia. “The training will also enrich the capacity of specialists in assessing risks of COVID-19 in more than 1,500 workplaces targeted by the ILO’s Enhancing COVID-19 Prevention at and through Workplaces. Funded by the Government of Japan, the project facilitates a series of webinars to build dialogues and communications to maintain continued knowledge and strengthen capacity of relevant stakeholders to ensure business continuity and employment in the midst of a pandemic. The project will strengthen the capacity of labour inspectors, OSH professionals as well as representatives of enterprises and workers to effectively deal with today’s pandemic and other OSH challenges.The training session invited Dr. Yuka Ujita, ILO’s Senior Specialist on OSH to provide a lecture on methods and control in handling infectious diseases in the workplace as well as in implementing effective early warning system. She highlighted four important topics: COVID-19 risk assessment and control at workplace, integration of COVID-19 response in the OSH management system, action points for safe return to work and key tips for OSH trainers.She also recommended the utilization of the hierarchy of controls, a system that labels and prioritizes the risk controls from the most to least effective. “We have to start by enforcing the engineering and administrative control. We also need to promote changes in work policy or procedures to reduce or minimize exposures to hazard through the implementation of teleworking and shift arrangement, social distancing and good hygiene and infection control practices,” explained Dr. Ujita.Abdul Hakim, ILO’s National Project Officer, concluded the training with the explanation of the project’s workflow of the risk assessment service, as well as tasks and responsibilities of the OSH specialists contributed to enable them identify infection risks in the targeted workplaces. “Prevention and information dissemination at workplace are key to address virus prevention beyond the workers and improve health literacy about COVID-19 that, in turn, will protect businesses, workers and wider communities from the spread of COVID-19 and will put the economy on a stronger footing for everyone.”

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Safe workplaces protect both workers and businesses

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Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia is still facing a challenge, with the number of new cases still on the upward trend. As the crisis continues to threaten many facets of society, efforts have been made to keep the economy running in a time of health crisis — from comprehensive fiscal stimulus to the issuance of workplace health protocols in order to mitigate the transmission of virus and protect workers as much as possible.A question remains: amidst all the efforts and lingering concerns against the pandemic, how should we all strike a balance in maintaining economic activities while making workplaces safe? The ILO attempted to gather perspectives from key labour actors to find the answer through a webinar titled: Business and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Reducing Infection Risks at Workplaces” on 6 July. The webinar presented the representatives from the Ministry of Manpower, the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo), Confederation of All Indonesian Trade Union (KSBSI) and the Indonesian Medical Association for Occupational Health (IDKI). The webinar was held as part of the launch of the new project titled “Enhancing COVID-19 Prevention at and through Workplaces”, funded by the Government of Japan. The Project was officially launched by Dra. Haiyani Rumondang, M.A, Director General of the Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) of the Ministry of Manpower, H.E. Kenji Kanasugi, Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia and Michiko Miyamoto, Country Director of ILO in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The Project, running until March 2022, marked the collaboration between the Government of Indonesia and Japan, with support of the ILO, to promote job creation by enhancing COVID-19 prevention and improving safety and health for workers, which is an indispensable precondition to business re-opening, continuation and expansion. The project also aims to strengthen the capacity of labour inspectors, OSH professionals as well as representatives of enterprises and workers to effectively deal with today’s pandemic and other occupational safety and health (OSH) challenges.Workplaces as the frontline to safeguard workers Joining from Bangkok, Dr Yuka Ujika, ILO’s Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), explained during the webinar that workplaces have a role in curving the pandemic by mitigating the risk of virus transmission, serving as an information hub on prevention and sharing good practices beyond workplaces. “Workplaces can play their roles by enhancing the capacity of workers and employers, as well as by strengthening occupational health service through the promotion of preventive culture, application of risk assessment and control and the development of OSH management system,” said Dr Ujita. Workplaces can play their roles by enhancing the capacity of workers and employers, as well as by strengthening occupational health service through the promotion of preventive culture, application of risk assessment and control and the development of OSH management system.” Dr Yuka Ujika, ILO’s Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Reaffirming Dr. Ujita’s statement on OSH management system, Yuli Adiratna, Director of Labour Norms Examination of Ministry of Manpower, emphasized that workplaces should integrate their preventive measures into their OSH programme, while at the same time, empowering the formation of company’s OSH Committee (P2K3) and optimizing the function of occupational health services. Meanwhile, from the perspective of the employers, dr. Rima Melati, OSH Committee of Apindo, stressed the importance of raising the workers’ and managements’ awareness about healthy behavioral change in respond to the pandemic. “Communication and socialization on COVID-19 protocols and good practices will reduce infection risk among workers at workplaces,” she said.In agreement, Elly Rosita Silaban, President of KSBSI, added that trade unions have an important role to facilitate communications with workers about the emerging risks and their impacts. “Organizing collective actions to enhance safety and health measures at work are already in motion for many workers, especially in terms of making sure their fellow workers are aware of the available vaccination scheme,” added Elly.The key role of workplaces as the frontline to safeguard the workers also underscored by Dr Eddy, Chair of the Indonesian Medical Association for Occupational Health (IDKI). As the implementing partner of the Project, IDKI would provide assistance to more than a thousand of workplaces in Indonesia to develop protocols for prevention and transmission COVID-19 at workplaces. “We are going to replicate good practices based on our experiences at the enterprise level in dealing with the pandemic,” he said.The webinar concluded with enthusiastic responses from enterprises and workers to sign up for ILO’s assessment service. The service is targeted to assist 1.500 workplaces in assessing COVID-19 infection risks and implemented actions plans to enhance the COVID-19 prevention measures based on advice of OSH doctors.

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Preventing and mitigating COVID-19 at work

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The ILO and WHO publish a brief providing a literature review on common features of workplaces most affected by the new corona virus and the most effective measures adopted by countries to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 at work. The brief gives practical guidance for national and local authorities as well as employers and workers’ representatives […]

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Chemical safety

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Every year more than 1 billion workers are exposed to hazardous substances, including pollutants, dusts, vapours and fumes in their working environments. Many of these workers lose their life following such exposures, succumbing to fatal diseases, cancers and poisonings, or from fatal injuries following fires or explosions. We must also consider the additional burden that workers and their families face from non-fatal injuries resulting in disability, debilitating chronic diseases, and other health sequela, that unfortunately in many cases remain invisible. All of these deaths, injuries and illnesses are entirely preventable. Although the health effects of some occupational chemical exposures are well established, it is likely that the long-term health impacts of certain chemicals will only become evident in years to come. What is clear however, is that the utilisation of hazardous chemicals in consumer products and industrial processes will continue to increase in the coming years, leading to an even higher burden of disease and adverse consequences for the environment. To shed light on this global health crisis, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has conducted a global review of chemical exposures and health impacts in the world of work, in order to provide a state of the evidence towards policy efforts. The review highlights the most important trends for chemicals and the world of work, identifies ten priority chemicals of concern and presents the evidence for exposure, health effects, regional trends, gender considerations and priority actions for each of these substances. A chapter on priority action areas provides an essential overview of the way forward at different policy levels. Of all of the findings of the report, perhaps the most important take away is that we can no longer afford to be complacent in our global mismanagement of chemicals, and a new approach is urgently needed to protect the billions of workers exposed on a daily basis. Effective and evidence-based systems for the sound management of chemicals must be implemented at both the national and workplace level as a matter of urgency in order to protect workers, their families, and wider communities.

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