Keynote address at the launch of the ILO Youth4OSH Communication Platform

By Honourable Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), delivered by Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III at the launch of the ILO Youth4OSH Communication Platform, Makati City, Philippines, 31 July 2019

It is my honour and privilege to be with you today as we launch the Youth4OSH Communication Platform – a valuable and novel tool which will help us achieve our goal of making occupational safety and health (OSH) a way of life, a passion, and a mission of every Filipino, most especially the next generation.

Young workers are usually the ones who are most vulnerable to work hazards, injuries and illnesses as they are more sensitive to the environment they are in. They are most likely to take risks, and they usually lack awareness on work hazards and safety procedures. It is disheartening to note the grim statistics: In Europe, the incidence of non-fatal injury at work is more than 40 per cent higher among workers aged 18 to 24 than among older workers while in the United States, the rate of occupational injuries in young workers is twice as high compared to workers above 25 years old.

We all know that our young workers are the lifeblood of companies, bringing fresh ideas, enthusiasm for work, and energy. They are mostly fast learners and they usually appreciate the chance to learn, making them a perfect crucible for achieving our goal of creating a truly safe and healthy labour force. Ingraining the culture of safety and health among our young workers will ensure that OSH will be mainstreamed in industries; and that it will be one integral part of everyday life in workplaces and eventually in their homes and in communities.

DOLE is working double time to connect with young people, particularly with senior high school and college students to orient them to better appreciate the basic concepts of OSH in the hope of inspiring them to be future advocates and champions of work safety and health. We have been continuously conducting orientations for students in various parts of the country. To cite a specific progress, we have started conducting a five-day basic orientation on Occupational Safety and Health Training for DepEd - Quezon City public school teachers who handle the work immersion programme for senior high school students.

With limited resources, however, we can only do so much. Thus, we are grateful to our key partners like the International Labour Organization in this advocacy. The Youth4OSH Communication Platform is an excellent complement to our OSH programmes because it can facilitate the learning and involvement of youth in the OSH advocacy. The resources in the platform will help us connect with each other in ways that can enable them to develop new strategies and content in sharing knowledge and experiences on OSH. It also challenges us to continually find ways of generating youth-friendly information dissemination strategies.

I am excited to know more about this innovative platform and I hope that all of the OSH champions here today will help inspire and engage our future workers to adopt a culture of safety and health in the workplace, and in the greater community.

We are grateful for your support and we hope that we can continues to work together in uplifting the lives of everyone.

Mabuhay kayo at maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!