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

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.

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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Saint Lucia ratifies Convention No. 155 and its Protocol

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Saint Lucia ratifies Convention No. 155 and its Protocol

On Friday 14 May 2021, a representative of the Government of Saint Lucia, Guy Mayers (the High Commissioner for Saint Lucia in the United Kingdom) presented the instruments of ratification for the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) and the Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 to the ILO […]

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The resilience of Indonesia’s OSH System is tested during the pandemic

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Health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic at workplace (c) ILO/F. Latief In conjunction with the commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the ILO conducted two series of events: media briefing for journalists and media organizations and national occupational safety and health (OSH) webinar. Under the theme of “the Portrayal of OSH Investments in Indonesia”, the media briefing and webinar were organized on 27 and 29 April, respectively.
The unemployment benefit aims to provide unemployed workers with a temporary and partial income replacement, while severance pay aims to appreciate workers for long services.”
Hery Sutanto, Director for OSH Institutional Development of the Ministry of Manpower
These events aimed to raise the awareness about the importance of OSH investments and the vital role that safe workplaces played for crisis recovery and prevention. Drawing on the current lessons learned, the events also focused on strengthening national OSH systems as an effort to build resilience in dealing with the current COVID-19 and the future crises. The two events presented Yuka Ujita, ILO’s OSH specialist. She highlighted the ILO’s OSH latest report titled “Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises. Invest now in resilient OSH systems”. The report examines risk prevention and management related to pandemic. It also outlines the critical roles played during the pandemic by OSH regulatory frameworks and institutions, compliance mechanisms, health and advisory services, data, research and training.She also reminded that, as well as the health and care sectors, many other workplaces have been sources of COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly small and micro-sized enterprises. “The informal economy has difficulties to meet official OSH requirements due to lack of resources in adapting to the threats posed by the pandemic,” said Yuka.
The informal economy has difficulties to meet official OSH requirements due to lack of resources in adapting to the threats posed by the pandemic.”
Yuka Ujita, ILO’s OSH specialist
The two events also presented the OSH investments made by the Indonesian government. In addition to series of regulatory frameworks, Ministry of Manpower recently launched the new unemployment benefit as response to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. “The unemployment benefit aims to provide unemployed workers with a temporary and partial income replacement, while severance pay aims to appreciate workers for long services,” stated Hery Sutanto, Director for OSH Institutional Development. Other investments included the establishment of COVID-19 control and prevention programme at the enterprise level, the development of the National OSH Strategy 2021-2025, labour inspection reform, OSH online platform for certification and capacity building and the regional OSH programmes at the ASEAN level. Perspectives of media on OSH Journalists should be aware of the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic (c) Tempo.co

Media organizations still focus on terrors and intimidation to journalists, but not yet focus on the overall OSH issues to better protect their journalists and media workers. As a result, media reportage have not linked the pandemic related issues to OSH and have not covered the pandemic issues in a comprehensive way.”
Wahyu Dhyatmika, Secretary General for the Association for Indonesian Media Cyber (AMSI) and Editor-in-Chief of Tempo, a leading media in Indonesia
The media briefing was jointly conducted with the Alliance of Indonesian Journalists (AJI) Jakarta. In addition to the ILO report and the government’s investments, the media briefing also discussed perspective of the media on OSH. Wahyu Dhyatmika, Secretary General for the Association for Indonesian Media Cyber (AMSI) and Editor-in-Chief of Tempo, a leading media in Indonesia, admitted that mass media organizations have not yet focused on OSH for their journalists and media workers. Media organization have not yet considered pandemic related issues as OSH issues. “Media organizations still focus on terrors and intimidation to journalists, but not yet focus on the overall OSH issues to better protect their journalists and media workers. As a result, media reportage have not linked the pandemic related issues to OSH and have not covered the pandemic issues in a comprehensive way,” said Wahyu.However, he added, some efforts have been made to improve the protection of journalists. One of them was through the publication of the guideline on safety protocols for journalists. “We hope to continue raising the awareness among journalists and media organizations about this important issue and this will be part of the policy of the National Press Council,” he added.Perspectives of workers and employers
OSH Webinar 2021 Complementing the explanation about the OSH resilience and investment, the OSH Webinar, jointly conducted with the Ministry of Manpower, highlighted joint efforts taken by both workers and employers. Fransiskus Sales Sudaryono, OSH Committee of the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) and Djoko Wahyudi, Head of Panasonic Manufacturing Indonesia of the Indonesian Muslims Trade Union Confederation (K-Sarbumusi), shared their experiences.
The government is committed to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Both employers and workers should be part of the commitment to accelerate the OSH implementation, invest in long-term OSH programmes and ensure both business sustainability as well as the protection of workers.”
Haiyani Rumondang, Director General on Labour Inspection and OSH Development of the Ministry of Manpower
Fransiskus admitted that before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies tended to focus on safety issues and not on the health issues. However, to prevent the virus transmission at the workplace, company members of Apindo have now focused on both safety and health by establishing COVID-19 Task Force. Companies have also made the best use of technology to conduct health detection and contact tracing. “In addition to daily communications and health patrol at the enterprise level, we also use a mobile application to ensure workers’ health condition and to monitor distance and tracing. We work together with trade unions to protect workers and maintain business sustainability,” he said.Similar efforts were also shared by Djoko. “We work together with the management to integrate COVID-19 protocols into the company’s OSH policy of “zero accident and zero COVID-19 cases”. We also support work adjustments by ensuring physical distancing, better air circulation, sanitizing and so forth,” Djoko said.In addition to the policies and workplace adjustments, Djoko added, the trade union has also made efforts to support the welfare of workers and the surrounding communities. “We provide donations and social facilities for workers and we also ensure the safety of our surrounding communities by organizing the sanitation.”The active involvement of employers and workers was also the key message highlighted by Haiyani Rumondang, Director General on Labour Inspection and OSH Development of the Ministry of Manpower, in her remarks. “The government is committed to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Both employers and workers should be part of the commitment to accelerate the OSH implementation, invest in long-term OSH programmes and ensure both business sustainability as well as the protection of workers.”

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ILO calls for resilient occupational safety and health systems for future emergencies

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© KB Mpofu / ILO GENEVA (ILO News) – Countries need to put in place sound and resilient occupational safety and health (OSH) systems that would minimize the risks for everyone in the world of work in the event of future health emergencies, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) in a report, released on World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This will require investment in OSH infrastructure and integrating it into overall national crisis emergency preparedness and response plans, so that workers’ safety and health is protected, and the business continuity of enterprises is supported. The report, Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises. Invest now in resilient OSH systems, examines risk prevention and management relating to the pandemic, and analyses other health and safety risks associated with the changing work arrangements arising from virus control measures. It outlines the critical roles played during the pandemic by occupational safety and health regulatory frameworks and institutions, compliance mechanisms, health and advisory services, data, research and training. “There could be no clearer demonstration of the importance of a strong, resilient, occupational safety and health environment. Recovery and prevention will require better national policies, institutional and regulatory frameworks, properly integrated into crisis response frameworks,” said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder. There could be no clearer demonstration of the importance of a strong, resilient, occupational safety and health environment.” Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged workers in specific sectors, such as emergency, health and social care, have been particularly vulnerable to the risk of infection. According to data cited in the report, 7,000 health workers have died since the outbreak of the crisis, while 136 million health and social care workers are at risk of contracting COVID-19 through work. The pressures and risks facing health workers during the pandemic have also taken a toll on their mental health: one in five healthcare workers globally have reported depression and anxiety symptoms. As well as the health and care sectors many other workplaces have been sources of COVID-19 outbreaks, when staff are in closed environments or spend time in close proximity with each other, including in shared accommodation or transport. In analyzing the health concerns arising from the dramatic increase in teleworking during the pandemic, the report says that while teleworking has been essential in limiting the spread of the virus, maintaining jobs and business continuity and giving workers increased flexibility, it has also blurred the lines between work and private life. Sixty-five per cent of enterprises surveyed by the ILO and the G20 OSH Network reported that worker morale has been difficult to sustain while teleworking. The report says small and micro-sized enterprises have often found it hard to meet official OSH requirements because many have lacked the resources to adapt to the threats posed by the pandemic. In the informal economy, many of the 1.6 billion workers, especially in developing countries, have continued working despite lockdowns, restrictions on movement and social interaction, and other measures. This has put them at high risk of catching the virus, yet most do not have access to basic social protection, such as sick leave or sick pay. International labour standards (ILS) offer specific guidance on how to respond to these challenges, thereby reducing the risk of virus transmission in the workplace, the report says. They provide tools to implement OSH measures and to ensure that workers, employers and governments can maintain decent work, while adjusting to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. ILS also encourage social dialogue as the best way to ensure that procedures and protocols are effectively implemented and accepted.

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Safer workplaces by integrating HIV and COVID-19 prevention programme

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COVID-19 testing conducted at the workplace The COVID-19 pandemic has burdened health systems and disrupted routine medical care for many people globally and nationally. As a result, many people living with HIV and other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) are facing major barriers to accessing the care and the medicine they need to survive.The disruption caused by the pandemic may create conditions that facilitate the spread of HIV, as people may be unable to access services such as HIV testing and treatment. All of these changes could also make it more difficult to reach vulnerable populations.The ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower and the Indonesian Medical Association for Occupational Health (IDKI) recently launched a Guideline on COVID-19 Prevention and Control at Workplace. Understanding the importance of an integrated programme and ensuring the other health programme are not left behind, the Guideline has included key integrated measurements for the adjustment of prevention and handling of COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, among others: Confidentiality policy in relations to numerous daring consultation. An informed consent on health status disclosure, if certain conditions are required to inform people with HIV infected by COVID-19. An integrated campaign on HIV and COVID-19 and the usage of digital media. An integrated testing programme for HIV and COVID-19. A special intention given to people living with HIV who are vulnerable being infected by COVID-19. A multi month dispensing by giving ARV treatment for 3 months (not one month) to avoid repetitive visits to medical health services. Integrated programmes at company level Some companies have integrated their HIV and COVID-19 prevention and control programmes. The integrated programme at the company level show the evidence that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of HIV/AIDS prevention programme at workplace remains feasible. Port workers and sea fares are vulnerable to HIV and COVID-19 An integrated programme was conducted at Tanjung Emas port, in Semarang, Central Java for two months in November-December 2020. The port manages at least 640 port workers and 3,000 mobile seafarers monthly. Due to their nature of works, seafarers and port workers—the majority of whom are male and mobile—are vulnerable to both HIV and COVID-19. The programme started with the integrated education and socialization programme on HIV and COVID-19 for all staff, including the port’s high-level management. This programme was conducted with support from the port health office and a local NGO deals with HIV issue, Kalandara Foundation, followed by a voluntarily HIV counselling and test (VCT@Work) programme. The VCT programme applied the COVID-19 protocols (physical distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing and so forth) with a participation of 182 seafarers and port workers. The programme also referred to ARV treatment for those who were diagnosed HIV positive. The programme concluded with the signing of a non-discriminatory policy at Tanjung Emas port by the Authority of Tanjung Emas Port, Indonesia National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) and the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPSI). The policy highlighted the rights of people living with HIV and people infected by COVID-19 from discrimination at workplace.At the company level, PT Cilegon Fabricators has successfully taken measures to integrate prevention programmes for both pandemics. Located in Serang, Banten, the company employs a total of 1,126 workers, of whom 1,100 are male workers.The integration programme was conducted in collaboration with the local primary health clinic and a local NGO deals with HIV issue, Kusuma Buana Foundation. The programme includes the combination of educational materials for both HIV and COVID-19, an integrated training programme for various departments, including the OSH team and an integrated testing programme for both VCT@work and rapid test. “With this current pandemic, we have integrated HIV prevention programme with COVID-19 programme. This is to ensure a safe workplace and a protection for both our workers and the management,” explained dr Irwan Wicaksono, HSE Manager and Company Doctor of PT Cilegon Fabricators.

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