Opening address at the launch of the ILO Youth4OSH Communication Platform

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines, delivered by Ma. Concepcion Sardaña, Senior Programme Officer at the launch of the ILO Youth4OSH Communication Platform, 31 July 2019, Makati City, Philippines

Statement | Makati City, Philippines | 31 July 2019
  • Honourable Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III, represented by Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III, together with officials from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
  • Our partners from the government, workers and employers organizations,
  • Mr Johan Arvling, who works with the ILO office in Jakarta on the Youth4OSH Project,
  • OSH advocates, youth leaders, distinguished guests,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Thank you for joining us today as we launch the Youth4OSH communication platform.

Our Director, Mr Khalid Hassan would like to extend his warm greetings and best wishes for the success of this launch. He has to be in an equally important event so let me deliver this message on his behalf.

Work situations that put at risk the lives or health of workers are unacceptable and have high economic, social, political and human costs.

Each year, more than 2.7 million people die from work-related causes. Young workers aged 15 to 24 suffer up to 40 per cent higher rates of non-fatal occupational injuries than older workers.

In the Philippines, initial analysis of the Employee’s Compensation Commission (ECC) cited an average of 35 per cent of annual claims from 2007 to 2018 due to sickness or temporary disability of workers aged 15 to 30.

Meanwhile, over 1.2 million young workers within the 15 to 17 years age group are in hazardous work, which means they are in child labour.

Key factors responsible for high injury rates for young workers include a lack of awareness of workplace safety principles and rights at work, limited job skills and experience, poor training, assignment to inappropriate tasks, precarious terms of employment, and long working hours in difficult conditions, among others.

The Knowledge, Awareness and Behaviour (KAB) Survey in the Philippines by the ILO SafeYouth@Work Project revealed a limited knowledge of most young workers on Occupational Safety and Health or OSH standards and practices. Yet, these young workers believe that they have a fairly good understanding of these issues.

The ILO Youth4OSH Project, implemented in conjunction with the SafeYouth@Work thus aimed at reducing workplace injuries, fatalities, and occupational diseases by building a culture of safety and health among young workers and young employers in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

The ILO Youth4OSH Project has contributed towards addressing one of the key factors to high injury rates, which is the lack of awareness on OSH, with focus on construction and manufacturing global supply chains.

We are grateful to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) Foundation for their support to the ILO Youth4OSH Project, and the US Department of Labor for the ILO SafeYouth@Work.

Both projects operated within the overall framework of the ILO Flagship Programme on “OSH Global Action for Prevention” (OSH GAP).

A key component of the ILO Youth4OSH project was to design Communication Toolboxes containing relevant, practical and user-friendly tools, materials, guidance, and strategies.

These Communication Toolboxes will be officially launched today in the Philippines through the Youth4OSH Communication Platform – an interactive virtual space.

These toolboxes respond to the observed need among young workers for internet platforms that provide OSH information in targeted and compelling ways.

Key features, tools and application of the Youth4OSH Communication Platform will be presented in detail later on.

Indeed, this is a key step to address OSH challenges confronting young people in the world of work. Thank you for being part of the journey towards building a culture of safety and health among the youth.

Each of you has an important role today to ensure the use of these tools and resources. We hope that these tools will further support networks of intermediaries and young people towards raising awareness and spurring action.

Safety and health at work is a basic human right. Thus, raising awareness and empowering the youth to take action to protect themselves is crucial.

Young people like most of you in this room bring much-needed creativity, energy, passion and commitment. Government, workers and employers are vital to fully engage and support young people on OSH.

It is time to invest in young people and to build a culture of safety and health. Young people are the future of work so let us use well the tools and resources that we have today to guarantee a better and safer world of work.

Thank you!