Iloilo City adopts heat stroke break for traffic personnel

(Arnold Almacen photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

To safeguard against the risks of soaring temperatures, Iloilo City’s traffic enforcers and green guards now benefit from a heat stroke break policy.

Uldarico Garbanzos, head of the Iloilo City Traffic Management Unit (ICTMU), attests to the policy’s success in protecting staff from heat-related ailments since its March 12 implementation.

Under this health-conscious regime, personnel can take 15 to 20-minute respites during their shifts to hydrate and seek shade, ensuring they remain unscathed by the heat.

Garbanzos notes the practicalities of the policy during his rounds.

“Within that period, we expect them to rehydrate themselves.”

During inspections, Garbanzos said that there were enforcers who could not be seen near their duty area.

“We later learned that they entered the mall or establishments near the area to cool themselves down,” he said.

Garbanzos said this is allowed as long as it is within their heat stroke break.

However, as temperatures climbed above 40°C, the ICTMU switched to a “reactive mode” operation, calling for enforcers to intervene only if congestion arises, minimizing their sun exposure.

A month into the policy, Garbanzos reports no serious heat-related incidents among the aides, with some taking sick leave for minor discomfort.

“We have complaints that some felt dizzy or asked to take a day off but nothing serious,” he said.

With temperatures peaking at 44°C, several aides are now applying for vacation leave, a request ICTMU is inclined to grant, especially as traffic has lessened due to suspended classes prompted by the heat wave.

The ICTMU manages over 400 personnel, with 380 serving in the field, adapting to these new preventive measures to maintain their well-being amid the city’s blistering heat.