IOHSAD: The Institution
The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) was established as a timely and relevant response to the needs of Filipino workers in the light of current occupational and environmental health and safety conditions prevailing in the Philippines. IOHSAD believes the improvement of these conditions are inextricably linked with Filipino people's broader movement for meaningful social change.
IOHSAD is a non-stock, non-profit independent institution primarily engaged in assisting Filipino workers develop comprehensive and self-reliant occupational and environmental health and safety programs.
More specifically, IOHSAD is a resource center in the field of occupational and environmental health and safety issues and concerns affecting workers in various industries. It provides technical, material and moral support to the labor sector – trade unions and their safety committees, workers' dependents and health programs in workers communities.
In the early eighties, the Community-based Health Programs of the Council for Primary Health Care (CPHC; our mother organization) decided to expand the coverage of their operations from rural to urban areas.
It was the urban setting that saw the virtually unanswered need for health programs based in the workers' places of work.
Our response was to form a Factory-based Primary Health Care Program in June 1982 - still under CPHC.
Our focus then was still on preventive health care. But it soon dawned on us that workers need both preventive and curative health care because there are as many work-related illnesses already existing that have to be cured as potential illness that have to be prevented.
Along with our shift to the latter approach, the scope of our operations greatly increased until it was found best to set up a separate institute.
In March 1988, IOHSAD was formally established with a clear institutional mission – the attainment of a just, safe and humane workplace for the Filipino workers.
The right to occupational health and safety or, more simply, the right to healthy and safe working conditions, is a basic human right of workers.
It is as important as their other basic economic, political and cultural rights for it is closely related with the most basic right of all, the right to physical survival
Further, as creators of every commodity of value in this world, from chairs to spaceships, the least that workers deserve are just wages and healthy and safe working conditions.
This implies, among others, that workers have the right to know and act on existing and potential health and safety hazards in their workplaces
Active workers' participation in all phases of occupational and environmental health and safety programs, from planning to implementation, monitoring and evaluation, is an indispensable prerequisite for eventual self-reliance – the most reliable source of success.
Health is a social phenomenon. It is defined not merely in terms of physical and mental well-being; rather, it is often the result of a complex interplay of economic, political and cultural factors.
Thus, the solutions to workers' health problems, if they are to be real and not pallative, should proceed from a through analysis of their actual social context.
Increase the health awareness of both workers and health practitioners so they will understand the interrelationships between the health issue and other structural issues;
Initiate improvement in the existing health and safety conditions for Filipino workers;
Lobby for better laws – and better enforcement of laws – relative to occupational and environmental health and safety; and
Popularize the theory and practice of comprehensive and self-reliant occupational and environmental health and safety programs among Filipino workers.
Programs and Functions
Gather baseline data on health and safety conditions of workers in identified hazardous workplaces;
Popularize the theory and practice of participatory research; and
Provide essential data and information which can help influence government policies towards better protection and preservation of workers' health and safety.
Health Service Program
Assist victims of occupational and work-related disease in pinpointing the relationships of their health problems to their working conditions;
Provide and/or facilitate medical treatment and health education for workers sufferings from occupational and work-related health problems; and
Organize venues for the concrete application of health workers' acquired skills and knowledge
Assess training needs of workers relative to occupational and environmental health and safety;
Develop curricula for seminars on occupational and environmental health and safety and other Basic/Advanced Health Skills Trainings relevant to workers' needs;
Develop and popularize health and safety training aids, materials and strategies;
Conduct actual health education skills trainings based on the identified training needs of workers;
Ensure the development of health trainers from existing Health and Safety Committees;
Initiate training venues like symposia and fora to encourage other health practitioners to share their knowledge and skills with workers; and
Take the lead role in evaluating the effects of occupational and environmental health and safety training on workers.
Produce, disseminate and popularize publications on the findings of occupational and environmental health and safety researches to all interested parties, principally to trade unions and their support-groups;
Provide trade unions with supporting documents which can help them in bargaining for adequate health provisions in their Collective Bargaining with management;
Document the health and safety conditions of workers through soundslides and print media; and
Facilitate the exchange of publications with other local and foreign organizations promoting occupational and environmental health and safety.
Help consolidate existing Health and Safety Committees;
Initiate sharing sessions and consultations among health workers for mutual enrichment of knowledge and skills in occupational and environmental health and safety; and
Mobilize health workers to actively participate in occupational and environmental health and safety activities and/or projects