BACOLOD CITY -- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III urged employers in Negros Occidental to comply with occupational safety and health standards set by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Bello issued the call in his keynote address at the 12th Safety Summit on Thursday at Business Inn Hotel here.

The two-day event, which ended Friday, was organized by the Safety Organization of Negros Occidental (SONO) in collaboration with the DOLE Occupational Safety and Health Center with the theme, “Sustaining Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment Practices for Decent Work.”

Bello underscored the Labor department’s issuances pertaining to health and safety of the workers. These include the recently issued “no high heels,” and those on prolonged standing and sitting orders believed to trigger illnesses among employees.

Bello said the DOLE is creating a technical working group that will work on ensuring occupational safety and health standard inspections in the country.

“This is to strengthen our standards,” he said, citing that bus accidents, in particular, are indications of problems in the workplace.

Aside from defects on the vehicle, drivers possibly lack proper training or being subjected to more than 12-hour work, resulting to accidents, which can be prevented through implementation of safety and health standard practices.

Meanwhile, Bello said that while contractualization is not totally prohibited, the DOLE is “trying to eliminate the illegal form of contractualization.”

He noted that the appeal of protesters in Bacolod to absolutely stop “endo” or end of contract scheme.

Bello said there are contract schemes allowed by law, including those for security guards and janitorial services as well as project-based and seasonal employees such as sales ladies by big commercial establishments during peak season, particularly every December.

For instance in Negros Occidental, he said the sugar industry requires farm workers only during planting and harvest seasons. (PNA)