A recent survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) revealed that joblessness in the Philippines has worsened as an estimated 12.1 million Filipinos are currently unemployed.
Showing a big jump from the 21.7 percent unemployed in September last year’s survey, the latest SWS report said that 27.5 percent of the country’s total work force did not have a job by end-2013.
The survey, which was conducted from December 11 to 16 last year, also revealed that 9 percent lost their jobs involuntarily while 14 percent resigned from work.
SWS defines joblessness as without a job, and presently looking for a job. “Those without a job but not looking are excluded from the labor force like housewives, retired, disabled, students, etc,” according to the SWS report.
The highest joblessness rate for the past 20 years was recorded on March 2012 when the total was at 34.4 percent.
On the other hand, more Filipinos are optimistic that jobs will be available in the next 12 months. From a net +4 in September, the survey jumped to +19, the highest since June 2011.
Furthermore, 40 percent of the total respondents are optimistic that more jobs will be available, which is 10 percent higher from September survey. On the other hand, 21 percent said that jobs will be fewer while 31 percent see no difference.
SWS surveyed adults 18 years and above while the official Labor Force Survey includes all those who, “during the week before the interview date, are 15 years and over as of their last birthday.”
Injuries to workforce
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) revealed a total of 11,140, or 54 percent of the 20,635 occupational injuries in 2011, were brought about by superficial injuries and open wounds.
According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, the advent of industrialization and the continuing introduction of technological innovations in the Philippines have triggered a corresponding increase in the number and types of occupational hazards that workers are exposed to.
Baldoz said that the DOLE has already consulted stakeholders to amend and consolidate the guidelines on construction safety for a more effective implementation.
“Accidents can be prevented; and we have to constantly and relentlessly work towards zero accident in all industries,” she said.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) on Safety and Health in Workplace that was released in January 2014, the highest number of injuries were recorded in manufacturing industry with 10,344 cases, or 50.12 percent; followed by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing with 2,492 cases, or 12.07 percent; wholesale and retail trade with 1,614, or 7.82 percent; transportation and storage with 1,478, or 7.16 percent and accommodation and food service activities with 911, or 4.41 percent.
The survey also reported that 2,460 cases or 11.9 percent had experienced dislocation, sprains and strains; fractures with 2,082 cases or 10.1 percent, while burns, corrosions, scalds and frostbites with 2,073 cases or 10 percent.
Also, 14 percent of the injuries were reported because of concussions and internal injuries with 953 cases; acute poisoning with 229 cases; traumatic amputations with 220 cases; and others with seven cases.
Citing the most affected part of the body, the BLES revealed that 8,113 workers, or 40 percent were affected in wrist and hand; 4,238, or 20.5 percent in lower extremities; 3,345, or 16.2 percent in arms and shoulder; and 3,093, or 15.0 percent in head.
Further the BLES revealed that 7,466 cases, or 36.2 percent of the total number of injuries were caused by striking against objects; 3,959 cases, or 19.2 percent being caught in or between objects; 2,582, or 12.5 percent falls of person; 1,878, or 9.1 percent struck by falling objects; 1,767, or 8.6 percent was due to exposure to extreme temperature; over-exertion or strenuous movement, 1,459, or 7.1 percent; exposure to harmful substances; 848, or 4.1 percent; and 402, or 1.9 percent was because of contact with electric current; and others of 275, or 1.3 percent.
Baldoz urged employers to impose and religiously observe the Occupational Safety and Health Standards for a healthy working environment.
She believes that proper implementation of occupational safety and health does not only mean less risk of accidents, but means a mutual benefit of both employers and workers.
“Investing on occupational safety and health does not only mean less risk of accidents. It also enhances the efficiency and viability of the enterprise, through less workdays lost; and, thus, boils down to the mutual benefit of both the workers and employers whatever industry they may be in,” she said.