Manila, Philippines – More than fifty Scouts and Scout Leaders joined the Department of Labor and Employment and the International Labour Organization celebrate the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila earlier today, April 28.
The annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
The participation of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines comes after it has partnered with the International Labour Organization in implementing a global project on occupational safety and health (OSH) called ‘Building a Generation of Safe and Healthy Workers – Safe and Healthy Youth’ funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) that identified the Philippines as one of its pilot countries alongside Viet Nam and Myanmar. The project commenced implementation on January 2016 and aims to improve the working condition of workers aged 15-24 years and develop a culture of prevention.
The project is working with various stakeholders and tripartite partners to achieve its four components, namely: 1) comprehensive, relevant and quality data and information on occupational safety and health of young workers are available for effective use in selected countries; 2) national legislation, regulations, policies and programmes are improved in order to better address the safety and health of young workers; 3) national capacities to monitor and enforce OSH laws and regulations, particularly those relevant to young workers, are enhanced; and 4) global knowledge and awareness of the particular hazards and risks faced by young workers is increased.
In the Philippines, one of the strategies identified by the project in developing a culture of prevention is to mainstream the concept of occupational safety and health to the youth either in community or school-based setting. Having community or school-based sessions and activities on safety and health will help the youth internalize the value of prevention, and also allow the youth recipients to become occupational safety and health (OSH) advocates to adults, particularly their parents.
The BSP is in a perfect opportunity to contribute towards realizing this global endeavor as it offers an opportunity to integrate the concept of occupational safety and health in its Merit Badge System. The BSP has a safety badge which is limited to one’s personal safety, safety at home and at the meeting place, and for cases of fire and road or railway level crossing. With the collaboration with the Safe and Healthy Youth Project, there is opportunity to further internalize on key points on occupational safety and health, which may be integrated in a recalibrated Occupational Safety and Health Merit Badge. Furthermore, Scouting is mainstreamed within the educational system both in public and private schools covering primary and secondary levels, and the partnership with the project can positively impact in the integration of occupational safety and health in the youth’s behavior.
For over 100 years, Scouting’s successful existence has been credited to the fact that is has taken on the responsibility of providing a safe environment to support the emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development of the young people. Child and youth protection has been an increasing priority of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and the BSP has invested considerable effort in raising awareness, implementing policies and procedures in keeping Scouts safe from harm.
As the BSP continues to grow, it is taking steps to continue to provide safe environment for the young people in Scouting by adopting and enacting policies and procedures at national level.