MANILA – A group of business process outsourcing (BPO) employees urged companies to stop sharing of headsets and enforce proactive measures to uphold workers’ safety to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) across the sector.
“Up to now, we still get reports of sharing of headsets in a number of call center companies. We have been opposing this for a long time. With the recent development in (Covid-19), it is high time that this unhygienic practice is put to an end,” Mylene Cabalona, president of BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) said in a statement released on Wednesday.
She also called on the government to strictly enforce occupational safety and health standards to stop the spread of the virus.
“Three out of 10 occupational diseases experienced by workers in the BPO industry are respiratory in nature. The lack of night sleep is also commonly linked to lower immune systems. Thus, BPO workers are a highly vulnerable population once the Covid-19 begins to spread. Proactive measures should be put in place to protect workers’ health and safety,” Cabalona added.
Even as the number of recorded cases appears to be lower in the Philippines than in other countries, Cabalona said the BPO industry cannot afford to do business as usual.
“Companies are summoned to put workers’ health first. No worker deserves to be exposed to the increased health risk of Covid-19 because of negligence, incompetence and drive for profit,” she added.
At the same time, the group vowed to continue monitoring the situation on the ground.
“On our part, we will continue to help in disseminating information and building capacity our members and fellow BPO workers on how to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare for the worst scenario. We, BPO workers, are also challenged to exercise and assert our right to have health and safety committees as part of ensuring the right to a safe workplace,” Cabalona added.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health reported that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country has increased to 49. (PNA)