In the Bangsamoro, employers asked to keep workspaces cool

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COTABATO CITY, BARMM, Philippines — As temperature continued to rise here due to the El Niño, the Bangsamoro Labor and Employment Minister Muslimin Sema ordered employers to provide cooler work areas for their personnel as part of the safety and health measures to prevent and mitigate health risks in different workplaces across the region.

Ministry Order No. 12, which Sema issued on Monday, directed employers to take appropriate actions to lessen the impact of extreme heat being experienced by workers at work.

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Cotabato City and nearby provinces experienced searing heat as the weather bureau reported heat index in Cotabato City to hover between the dangerous 41 to 42 degrees Celsius level in the last five days.

Effective ventilation, heat insulation

In his order, Sema identified some of the safety and health measures that employers were encouraged to implement. These included the provision of effective ventilation and heat insulation in all areas where their employees work; and provision of adequate drinking water to hydrate them.

He also urged employers to properly assess the level of their workers’ exposure to extreme temperature relative to their respective areas of assignment, among others.

Sema also advised employers to immediately coordinate with the nearest hospitals for proper transfer and referral of their workers should any emergency occur in their work premises.

To reduce the exposure of their workers to extreme heat, Sema also recommended the adoption of flexible work arrangements such as adjusting work hours while maintaining the total work hours whether on a daily or weekly basis.

In Cotabato province, six persons have died due to heatstroke, records from local health offices showed. —EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ