DOLE issues orders protecting workers from risks of prolonged sitting

Deskbound workers can now look forward to a much safer and comfortable working condition following the labor department’s order requiring establishments to eliminate the health risks posed by prolonged sitting.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain. Photo by TechRepublic

Department Order No. 184 mandates employers and business establishments to implement appropriate measures that address the health and safety issues related to sedentary occupations in the workplace.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the order will guarantee the occupational health and safety of private workers which will redound to the productivity of companies and industries due to good working conditions.

The order provides business establishments to implement regular five-minute breaks every two hours from sitting time and encourage workers to reduce sedentary work by interrupting sitting time and substituting it with standing and walking.

It likewise requires employers to ensure that workstations are designed appropriately for the type of work, and provide sit-stand or properly designed workstations that would facilitate easy mobility of workers.

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Business establishments are also directed to redesign work tasks in such a way that it would enable greater variability in movement or posture.

Employers are also enjoined to conduct health promotion activities that would heighten the awareness of workers toward the health effects of prolonged sitting and sedentary work.
Among the health effects associated with prolonged sitting include the development of musculoskeletal disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity.

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The conduct of various health activities, Bello said, will enable workers to engage in more physical activities after work, such as calisthenics and dance lessons, to counter the risk of getting the harmful health effects related to prolonged sitting and sedentary work.

To ensure strict implementation, the DOLE Regional Offices are tasked to inspect and monitor compliance of covered employers and business establishments. The guidelines will take effect 15 days from its publication.

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