Companies’ failure to provide sufficient and clean rest rooms (CRs) and severe restriction on their use are resulting in an explosion of UTI and kidney problems among many workers, increasing absenteeism and jeopardizing workers’ health and productivity.
Companies say workers waste their time in the CR, disrupting work and assembly lines, thus prompting the CR restrictions. Not contented, some companies even have removed mirrors inside toilets.
Physicians say an average person urinates five times during the day; irregularity can lead to UTI (urinary tract infection) and kidney problems, which can lead to high blood pressure (depending on age) or even renal failure.
Since January 2002, YYY Corporation, a Korean-producer of Jansport, Eddie Bauer and Outdoors bags which are exported to the U.S. and Korea, has implemented the CR pass scheme for its workers. One CR pass is shared by 110 workers and only one worker can use the CR at any given time.
Nida, a sewer who contracted UTI, argued, “Makakatagal ka ba naman sa CR na ‘yun? Napakadumi. Wala ngang makatagal na tagalinis sa CR na ‘yun e.” (No one will stay there for long because it’s very dirty. No janitor has endured cleaning the CR.). No one cleaned the CR at first, and it posed a problem for workers since the canteen sits beside the toilet.
At JJJ Corp., a Korean-maker of Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy bags which are exported to China, Hong Kong and US, there are only 3 toilet bowls for 300 female workers and a single toilet bowl is shared by 200 male employees.
TUCP verifier Abigail (not her real name) said, “Madumi ‘yung CR at maamoy. Magtatakip ka talaga ng ilong. Nagtatanungan nga dun kung ano ang pelikula sa haba ng linya.” (The CR is very filthy and it smells. You need to cover your nose. Those who go to the CR ask what movie is being shown because of the long line of CR-goers — which looks like a line in a theater ticket booth). At any given time, five to ten workers can be seen falling in line before the rest rooms.
Eight hundred workers are employed at CCC Corporation, a US-exporting maker of Brooks Brothers, Prince Frederick and Neema garments. Five hundred sixty-seven women (567) share only four toilet bowls while 233 men share one toilet bowl and a meter-long urinal. Management also implements the use of one CR pass per 100 workers.
Only 6 toilet bowls are allotted for 250 women and 2 toilet bowls for 60 male workers at SBS, a Korean manufacturer of Panasonic RF modules and antennas, which are exported to China and Korea.
At SSS in Quezon City which produces JC Penney, Sean John and Erika jackets and pants for export to the US, 220 women share 5 cubicles and 80 men share 5 toilets. Cleanliness is spotty.
At union-buster SPS Corporation which produces DKNY apparel for the US, 65 women share two toilets, 135 men share one toilet.
At AAA Inc., maker of Little Beetty, Sears Roebuck and JC Penney-labeled baby dresses which are exported to the U.S., workers are allowed to use the rest rooms only once in four continuous working hours,. They are required to sign an attendance sheet and are reprimanded when they use the CR more than once. Worse, they are not given morning and afternoon breaks which could have been used for toilet processes.
Compare these: there are 5 CR cubicles for women and 3 cubicles and 7 urinals for men in an ordinary movie theater that has a 700 seating capacity. A huge public high school in Quezon City has 15 functional but not well-maintained CR cubicles for 5,000 female students.
The OSH Standard of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Rule 1060.01(5) on Premises of Establishments requires “adequate comfort rooms and lavatories separate for male and female workers; adequate dressing rooms for female workers and locker rooms for male workers — in accordance with Article 132, Chapter I, Title III Book III of the Labor Code of the Philippines. The number of comfort room facilities for a given number of workers shall conform with the requirement of the Department of Health.”
Only companies with toilet and bath facilities, restrooms, dining facilities and mess halls can be issued Sanitary Permits (according to the Implementing Rules and Regulations on Chapter VII-Industrial Hygiene of the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, P.D. 856 as provided by the Department of Health).
Toilet facilities must “provide privacy (enclosed and partitioned), [must be] accessible, kept clean and orderly, sufficiently ventilated, interior not visible from outside and [must have] separate and properly-indicated approaches. Restrooms must be: conveniently accessible, kept clean and orderly, minimum space for 10 workers is 6.0 square meters, and minimum addition of 0.2 square meter per additional employee.” (Training Manual on Industrial Hygiene, pp. 61-62)
The DOH Training Manual on Industrial Hygiene specifies the number of toilet bowls required for certain numbers of workers.
|< 500||500 >|
|1 unit||1 – 20||1 – 25||001 – 60|
However, few companies comply with the requirements.
Where’s the DOLE and DOH?
Maybe overstaying in the CR?