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BPO employee safety in inclement weather

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) emphasized that employee safety and security is paramount should they opt to go to work during inclement weather.

“Our top priority is the safety of our employees, their families, and the communities we operate from,” said Benedict Hernandez, BPAP president and CEO.

Because of heavy rains and flooding all over Metro Manila brought by Southwest monsoon (Hanging Habagat), Malacañang suspended work last August 7. The order for suspension included work in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.

In her Twitter account, Palace deputy spokesman Abigal Valte said an employer must provide two things should they require their employees to report for work even in bad weather: one is to guarantee employee’s safety; second is to provide extra pay for employee’s attendance.

But the BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) lamented in an article posted on their website that some BPO companies disregarded the government’s order being that they “do not take orders from the government.” Despite such instances, BIEN cited commendable actions of other BPO companies like allowing affected employees to skip work and giving shelter and food to those stranded in their workplace.

Various reports said there was minimal interference in the BPO sector during last week’s inclement weather. This was because of companies’ contingency plans in the event of calamities.

BPAP estimated that 640,000 Filipinos are currently employed by the BPO industry and is expected to rise to 1.3 million by 2016.

5 tips for BPO employees during bad weather from SecurityMatters

Here are some tips for workers in the BPO industry—and non-BPO alike–in the event of bad weather:

Know the company’s guidelines and policies in case of calamities. Is the company offering service trips to and from your office? Does the company accommodate those stranded in the office? Does the company give leeway to employees affected by flood? Knowing such policies of your company can help you decide better on what to do in case of calamities, like heavy rains and floods, without worrying of the sanctions from your employer or your means of transportation.

Be informed and be prepared. Be updated on weather reports and flooded places by tuning in to television or radio newscasts, or following the websites or social media accounts of government agencies like the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). Bring with you or put on the proper gear to protect yourself from the hazards of heavy rain and flood.

Plan scenarios and actions to take in the event of calamities. In case of heavy rain and flooding, will you stay home and keep yourself safe? Or would you risk getting stranded en route, or just stay where you are? Should you decide to go out, plan the best route and mode of transportation ahead of time to avoid heavy traffic or getting stranded.

Stay fit and healthy. Health hazards such as flu and leptospirosis are common during the rainy season. Aside from refraining to submerge yourself in flooded areas and wearing the proper gear for protection, your first line of defense against sickness is a healthy body. Not a health buff? Perhaps it’s time to change your lifestyle by adding more greens and nutritious choices on your plate and exercising regularly.

Your safety is your utmost priority. Always keep this in mind: Your safety is more important than a day’s pay. It is you who can best assess your situation.