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Work-related accidents claimed 112 lives in 2012; Mining tops all sectors in work-related deaths

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As part of its commemoration of the International Workers’ Memorial Day (April 28 : a day to remember those who died due to work), the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (www.IOHSAD.org) released its annual report on work-related deaths and injuries in the Philippines. The research surveyed several online news sites. Formal and informal sectors were not distinguished in this survey.

A total of 112 deaths caused by occupational accidents were reported in 2012. There were also 103 injured workers who suffered from work-related accidents in the same period. Moreover, based on the data presented by the Social Security System (SSS), the agency released a total of P741M to 44,460 beneficiaries of their Employees’ Compensation (EC) program from January to September 2012. From the total number of beneficiaries, it also reported 272 funeral grants in the same period. Only work-related deaths are entitled to funeral grants based on EC rules and regulations

Highlights and Observations:

* Service, mining and transport sectors claimed the most number of work-related deaths last year.

* Mining claimed the most number of deaths last year. A total of 44 miners died because of unsafe conditions and deadly landslides in mining areas. The last quarter of 2012 proved to be the most tragic for the mining sector. Typhoon Pablo ravaged the mining towns of Compostela Valley and buried hundreds of residents including small-scale miners.

* A sharp increase in the number of workers in the service sector affected by work –related accidents was recorded last year. The number of workers affected in 2012 increased by 400% compared to last year’s report. The most tragic event was the fire in a commercial establishment in Butuan City which killed 17 women workers who were trapped in the building.

In the Philippines, most of the occupational health and safety issues faced by the workers remain unreported and kept out of the public eyes. Victims of occupational diseases face their life battles alone without being noticed. The lack ofa more accurate system in monitoring work-related deaths and accidents in the country led IOHSAD to launch “WorkingCAST: Workers and Citizens Action for Safety. This program aims to develop workers as OHS reporters and practice citizen journalism to uphold health and safety at work.

LITRATO OBRERO (Workers’ Images), a photo contest and exhibit on workers’ health and safety served as the kick-off activity of WorkingCAST. Workers and OHS advocates are encouraged to submit photo entries based on the contest’s theme : “Obrero, ligtas ka ba sa trabaho? Deadline of submission is on May 5. Top photo gets P10,000. Winners will be announced and put on exhibit on May 9 at Plaza Miranda.