Independently operating medical, dental, lying-in, and optical clinics, including laboratories with not more than nine workers, are now required by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to have safety officers.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the requirement, which is mandated by Labor Advisory No. 20, Series of 2021, aims to further guarantee the strict observance of occupational safety and health in all workplaces.
The labor advisory requires the compliance of stand-alone micro health care and related facilities with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law (Republic Act 11058), its Implementing Rules and Regulations (Department Order No. 198, Series of 2018), and the OSH standards.
“Our labor inspectors are under strict order to enforce our occupational safety and health regulations. Stiff penalties shall be imposed upon employers and workers who violate them. At the same time, however, we must help them comply with the regulations,” said Bello as he underscored the role of the Department in ensuring that establishments are properly guided in complying with OSH rules.
Stand-alone micro health care and related facilities are those with not more than nine workers and operating independently from small, medium, and large health care and related facilities, the labor advisory states. It includes medical and dental clinics, lying-in clinics, optical clinics, laboratories, and other similar health care and related facilities.
Bello said that the designated safety and health personnel must have completed a four-year health-related course with the necessary background on the standard of care and universal precautions. They must have undergone Safety Officer 1 training and occupational first aid training.
The Safety Officer 1 training includes a mandatory eight-hour OSH orientation course and a two-hour trainers training.
The safety and health personnel may also be a ‘roving safety officer.’ This means they can also be assigned to a different stand-alone micro health care and related facility with the same owner or employer within the five-kilometer radius, explained Bello.
To serve as a guide in ensuring a safe and healthy working environment, stand-alone micro health care and related facilities shall formulate and implement necessary OSH programs.
The OSH program template may be downloaded at https://bwc.dole.gov.ph/downloads/downloadable-forms.
Some of the core elements of the OSH program are management commitment and employee involvement, workplace risk assessment, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training and education, and OSH program evaluation.
The OSH program shall then be submitted to the DOLE Regional or Field Office having jurisdiction over the workplace.
Lastly, the DOLE Regional or Field Office shall provide technical assistance about other compliance requirements of the concerned establishments.