DOLE: Workers spending a lot of time on their feet excused from wearing high heels

August 25, 2017 - 8:52 PM
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classroom teacher
Classroom teacher at President Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City. Photographed by Michael Varcas, Philstar

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has signed Department Order No. 178, which directs all employers and establishments to ensure that women employees who stand for long periods or walk frequently in their work do not have to wear high-heeled shoes.

DOLE on Friday issued guidelines “to address the occupational health and safety issues and concerns related to the wearing of high-heeled female shoes, and/or standing at work for long periods or frequent walking, such as strain on the lower limbs, aching muscles, hazardous pressure on hip, knee and ankle joints and sore feet.”

Retail employees, service employees, assembly line workers, teachers, and security personnel are just some of those covered by Department Order No. 178.

Employers and establishments are to implement the following measures.

1. Implement rest periods to break or cut the time spent on standing or walking.

2. Install appropriate flooring or mats that will mitigate the impact of frequent walking and prevent fatigue, such as wood or rubber floorings.

3. Provide tables or work surfaces with adjustable heights to allow workers to alternately sit and stand while performing their tasks.

4. Provide readily accessible seats to be used during rest periods or even during working hours, provided the employees can perform their duties in this position without detriment to efficiency. These can be small foldable stools which can easily be stowed away so as not to hamper the work area.

5. Implement the use of footwear that is practical and comfortable. These should not pinch the feet or toes; are well-fitted and non-slipping; provide adequate cushion and support to the arch of the feet; either flat or with low heels that must be wide-based or wedge-type and no higher than one inch.