Dole calls on workplaces to install measures against AH1N1

Jun. 08, 2009

DAVAO CITY — To prevent the possible spread of influenza caused by the AH1N1 virus in the region, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) is asking employers to maintain a clean work area and provide water, soap and household disinfectant in washrooms and toilets.

In a recent press conference, Department Labor and Employment (Dole) Southern Mindanao director Jalilo dela Torre stressed workplace health and urged employers to provide personal protective equipment like respirators, gowns, and gloves.

Dela Torre recommended workplaces with particular risk of infection to prepare immediate protective measures, including a screening program that can be set up by the Health Department and an isolation area. In workplaces where there are already cases of suspected AH1N1 infection, the company is required to immediately isolate the suspected worker in a separate well-ventilated room. The work area must also be decontaminated with appropriate disinfectant like chlorine bleaching solution.

Dela Torre told employers to allow workers suspected of having influenza AH1N1 to stay home, rest and seek medical care especially during the incubation period of at least five days.

According to the labor department director, the worker’s leave of absence may be charged to sick or vacation leave credits under the company policy. If the credits are used up, the employer should at least grant a leave of absence without pay. However, dela Torre urged the employers to be more flexible and compassionate and grant additional leave with pay instead to their ill employees.

Dole also announced that workers affected by the virus may avail of 150, 000 pesos worth of medical insurance package, in addition to the existing Philippine Health Insurance Corporation benefits. (PIA)

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