Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).

Health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic at workplace (c) ILO/F. Latief

In conjunction with the commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the ILO conducted two series of events: media briefing for journalists and media organizations and national occupational safety and health (OSH) webinar. Under the theme of “the Portrayal of OSH Investments in Indonesia”, the media briefing and webinar were organized on 27 and 29 April, respectively.

The unemployment benefit aims to provide unemployed workers with a temporary and partial income replacement, while severance pay aims to appreciate workers for long services.”

Hery Sutanto, Director for OSH Institutional Development of the Ministry of Manpower

These events aimed to raise the awareness about the importance of OSH investments and the vital role that safe workplaces played for crisis recovery and prevention. Drawing on the current lessons learned, the events also focused on strengthening national OSH systems as an effort to build resilience in dealing with the current COVID-19 and the future crises.

The two events presented Yuka Ujita, ILO’s OSH specialist. She highlighted the ILO’s OSH latest report titled “Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises. Invest now in resilient OSH systems”. The report examines risk prevention and management related to pandemic. It also outlines the critical roles played during the pandemic by OSH regulatory frameworks and institutions, compliance mechanisms, health and advisory services, data, research and training.

She also reminded that, as well as the health and care sectors, many other workplaces have been sources of COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly small and micro-sized enterprises. “The informal economy has difficulties to meet official OSH requirements due to lack of resources in adapting to the threats posed by the pandemic,” said Yuka.

The informal economy has difficulties to meet official OSH requirements due to lack of resources in adapting to the threats posed by the pandemic.”

Yuka Ujita, ILO’s OSH specialist

The two events also presented the OSH investments made by the Indonesian government. In addition to series of regulatory frameworks, Ministry of Manpower recently launched the new unemployment benefit as response to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. “The unemployment benefit aims to provide unemployed workers with a temporary and partial income replacement, while severance pay aims to appreciate workers for long services,” stated Hery Sutanto, Director for OSH Institutional Development.

Other investments included the establishment of COVID-19 control and prevention programme at the enterprise level, the development of the National OSH Strategy 2021-2025, labour inspection reform, OSH online platform for certification and capacity building and the regional OSH programmes at the ASEAN level.

Perspectives of media on OSH

Journalists should be aware of the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic (c) Tempo.co

Media organizations still focus on terrors and intimidation to journalists, but not yet focus on the overall OSH issues to better protect their journalists and media workers. As a result, media reportage have not linked the pandemic related issues to OSH and have not covered the pandemic issues in a comprehensive way.”

Wahyu Dhyatmika, Secretary General for the Association for Indonesian Media Cyber (AMSI) and Editor-in-Chief of Tempo, a leading media in Indonesia

The media briefing was jointly conducted with the Alliance of Indonesian Journalists (AJI) Jakarta. In addition to the ILO report and the government’s investments, the media briefing also discussed perspective of the media on OSH. Wahyu Dhyatmika, Secretary General for the Association for Indonesian Media Cyber (AMSI) and Editor-in-Chief of Tempo, a leading media in Indonesia, admitted that mass media organizations have not yet focused on OSH for their journalists and media workers. Media organization have not yet considered pandemic related issues as OSH issues.

“Media organizations still focus on terrors and intimidation to journalists, but not yet focus on the overall OSH issues to better protect their journalists and media workers. As a result, media reportage have not linked the pandemic related issues to OSH and have not covered the pandemic issues in a comprehensive way,” said Wahyu.

However, he added, some efforts have been made to improve the protection of journalists. One of them was through the publication of the guideline on safety protocols for journalists. “We hope to continue raising the awareness among journalists and media organizations about this important issue and this will be part of the policy of the National Press Council,” he added.

Perspectives of workers and employers

OSH Webinar 2021

Complementing the explanation about the OSH resilience and investment, the OSH Webinar, jointly conducted with the Ministry of Manpower, highlighted joint efforts taken by both workers and employers. Fransiskus Sales Sudaryono, OSH Committee of the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) and Djoko Wahyudi, Head of Panasonic Manufacturing Indonesia of the Indonesian Muslims Trade Union Confederation (K-Sarbumusi), shared their experiences.

The government is committed to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Both employers and workers should be part of the commitment to accelerate the OSH implementation, invest in long-term OSH programmes and ensure both business sustainability as well as the protection of workers.”

Haiyani Rumondang, Director General on Labour Inspection and OSH Development of the Ministry of Manpower

Fransiskus admitted that before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies tended to focus on safety issues and not on the health issues. However, to prevent the virus transmission at the workplace, company members of Apindo have now focused on both safety and health by establishing COVID-19 Task Force. Companies have also made the best use of technology to conduct health detection and contact tracing.

“In addition to daily communications and health patrol at the enterprise level, we also use a mobile application to ensure workers’ health condition and to monitor distance and tracing. We work together with trade unions to protect workers and maintain business sustainability,” he said.

Similar efforts were also shared by Djoko. “We work together with the management to integrate COVID-19 protocols into the company’s OSH policy of “zero accident and zero COVID-19 cases”. We also support work adjustments by ensuring physical distancing, better air circulation, sanitizing and so forth,” Djoko said.

In addition to the policies and workplace adjustments, Djoko added, the trade union has also made efforts to support the welfare of workers and the surrounding communities. “We provide donations and social facilities for workers and we also ensure the safety of our surrounding communities by organizing the sanitation.”

The active involvement of employers and workers was also the key message highlighted by Haiyani Rumondang, Director General on Labour Inspection and OSH Development of the Ministry of Manpower, in her remarks. “The government is committed to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Both employers and workers should be part of the commitment to accelerate the OSH implementation, invest in long-term OSH programmes and ensure both business sustainability as well as the protection of workers.”

Source of original article: News, articles and statements on occupational safety and health from the ILO (www.ilo.org).
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