While most people look for the best available job to suit one’s qualifications, safety should always come first regardless of the nature of work. Although accidents do happen, injuries and even the loss of lives can be prevented if proper safety and health system and policies are implemented inside the workplace.

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is defined as the conditions and factors that affect, or could affect, the health and safety of employees or other workers (including temporary workers and contractor personnel), visitors, or any other person in the workplace. While safety is always an issue for both employees and employers, the International Labour Organization (ILO) cites that millions of workers die every year from work-related accidents and diseases.

The ILO – Country Office for the Philippines (CO-Manila) stated that the government estimates that only 2.2 million Filipino workers in medium and large enterprise enjoy effective occupational safety and health (OSH). In total, 38.8 million workers do not benefit from acceptable working conditions and OSH conditions in micro-firms and informal sector pose risks and hazards.

In a survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to companies with more than twenty (20) employees, the Department of Labor and Employment’s Occupational Safety and Health Center (DOLE-OSHC) found out that the number of occupational diseases doubled from 85,438 in 2011 to 171,787 in 2013. The survey also showed that back pain remains the top occupational safety concerns followed by hypertension and neck-shoulder pain.

That may soon change as workplace safety takes significant leap forward with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)’s development of International Standard (IS) 45001 – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Requirements, that will provide a framework to improve the safety of employees; reduce workplace risks; and, create a better and safer working conditions. The ISO 45001, currently under the draft stages can be integrated into other health and safety programs, and is designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries and reduce the workplace injuries and illnesses around the world.

The ISO 45001 is developed by a committee of occupational health and safety experts and will follow in the footsteps of ISO’s other management systems approaches, such as ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 9001 (quality) and other International Standards in this area such as OHSAS 18001.

The second Draft International Standard (DIS) of ISO 45001 will be published on 19 May 2017 and the ballot period will end 13 July 2017. The DTI-BPS will circulate the draft to concerned sectors for comments.

The DTI-BPS is the National Standards Body of the Philippines. It is the Philippines’ member to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

For more information on ISO 45001, visit the ISO website.