Health and Safety

This page was last updated on: 2021-12-27

Employer Cares

The legal provisions on OSH in the Philippines come from the Occupational Safety and Health Standards 1989 and the later Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act 2017

Every employer covered by the provisions of these Standards must furnish his workers a place of employment which is free from hazardous conditions that are causing or are likely to cause death, illness or physical harm to his workers. General requirements for employers mainly are to:

a)     Provide workplace free from hazardous conditions;

b)     Give complete work safety instructions for workers;

c)     Comply with the requirements of OSH System;

d)     Use only approved devices and equipment.

The employer must ensure the ongoing surveillance of the working environment through, an occupational health service, the health programme and other approaches. Specific health surveillance is required when workers are exposed to substances such as natural fertilizer, lead, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, nitro glycol and other similar substances. In addition, all workplaces must have an OSH-approved safety programme, as well as a committee and an officer to enforce and manage the programme, with the DOLE enforcing training on basic OSH for safety officers and workers alike.

The following rights are enshrined in law for employees for which employers are responsible:

  • The right to know about hazards in the work place
  • The right to refuse unsafe work
  • The right to report accidents
  • The right to Personal Protective Equipment

Periodic annual medical examinations must be conducted by the employer in order to follow-up previous findings, to allow early detection of occupational and non-occupational diseases, and determine the effect of exposure of employees to health hazards.

Every employer is required to maintain in his workplace a quantity of medicines, medical supplies, equipment and medical faculties for the use of the workers employed in the establishment/ undertaking. The employer should also provide worker with medical and dental services which vary with the size of the industries. The rules require from the employer to provide full-time or part time first aiders, nurses, health physician, dentists to employees, and usually their time in the workplace will be determined by the number of the employees engaged in an enterprise.

Lastly, the employer must organize and maintain an occupational health program to achieve the following objective:

  1. Assess the worker’s physical, emotional and psychological assets as well as his liabilities in order to facilitate his proper placement and ensure the suitability of individuals according to their physical capacities, mental abilities and emotional make-up in work which they can perform with an acceptable degree of efficiency without endangering their own health and safety and that of their co-workers;
  2. Protect employees against health hazards in their working environment in order to prevent occupational as well as non-occupational diseases;
  3. Provision for first-aid, emergency services and treatment depending on the nature of the industry;
  4. Assure adequate medical care of ill and injured workers;
  5. Encourage personal health maintenance and physical fitness and proper nutrition practices;
  6. Provide guidance, information and services for family planning programs.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment also implemented guidelines to protect workers from COVID-19 infection, with precautions including:

  • Providing information on the transmission, symptoms and treatment of COVID-19
  • Sanitation of all surfaces in the working area and proper food preparation
  • Avoiding direct exposure to objects, animals or people carrying or suspected to be carrying COVID-19
  • Encouragement of healthy and clean lifestyle practices

Source: Rule 1005, 1077, 1955, 1961, 1963, 1966 and 1967 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards 1989, Labor Advisory No. 04, issued by the Department of Labour and Employment, Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act (Republic Act No. 11058, 2017)

Free Protection

Employers must, at their own expense, furnish workers with protective equipment for the eyes, face, hands and feet, protective shields and barriers whenever necessary by reason of the nature of hazards. The employer is responsible for the adequacy and proper maintenance of personal protective equipment used in his workplace. There are detailed rules on what type of equipment is to be provided by the employer for the protection of different parts of the employee’s body. The equipment generally includes goggles, glasses, respirators, hardhats, caps gloves, safety belts and shoes respectively.

During the pandemic, the provision of free PPE was extended to face masks, shoe covers, face shields and other aids to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Source: Rule 1080-1087 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards 1989, Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act (Republic Act No. 11058, 2017), Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Republic Act No. 11494, 2020)


The employer is required to take steps for the training of a sufficient number of employees in first-aid treatment. Furthermore, workers should be trained on procedures to control the removal of hazardous substances, eliminate pollution, and to evacuate from the affected area in an orderly manner. In buildings where the population is of a changing character, the fire exit training of the regular employees shall include the proper procedure to direct other occupants to safety." Apart from this, the Bureau of Working Conditions is also required to conduct training programs in order to teach employees about first aid treatment.

Source: Rule 1030, 1093, 1948 and 1961 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards 1989; Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act (Republic Act No. 11058, 2017)

Labour Inspection System

The Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) within the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is responsible for the formulation of policies and laws relating to working conditions and the working environment, with the aim of ensuring compliance with labor standards.

The Bureau of Working Conditions is the focal point of the Philippines labor inspection system and is responsible for the formulation of policies and laws relating to working conditions and the working environment, but it does not undertake actual inspection visits to workplaces to check on compliance. Inspectors located in 16 regional offices throughout the country undertake such visits.

The Labor Code establishes that DOLE shall be solely responsible for the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health laws, regulations and standards in all establishments and workplaces wherever they may be located. However, chartered cities may be allowed to conduct industrial safety inspections of establishments within their respective jurisdictions where they have adequate facilities and competent personnel as determined by DOLE and subject to national standards established by the latter.

Labor inspectors are empowered to visit any place where work is undertaken, including those in the informal economy, for safety and health inspection. Labor inspectors are responsible for overseeing general labor standards including wages and hours of work, other welfare and social security benefits and general safety and health, which refer to the work environment such as lighting, ventilation and other conditions. They also include compliance with the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law and policies and programmes for HIV/AIDS prevention and drug-free workplaces.

Source: §128 of the Labour Code, as amended; Department Order No. 57-04, issued by the Department for Labor and Employment