OSH Programs in Indonesia – 2012

OSH Programs in Indonesia


This writing is my personal reflection of OSH training and its follow ups in Indonesia. The first training in which I involved was in early 2006. The training was the basic OSH training involving some unions. There were some “controversies” coming up from participants in that first training. Some undermined OSH issues as they were considered as minor issues compared to other labour issues such as wages and labour market flexibility. Another controversy was some participants failed to recognize sexual harassment as major OSH issue for women workers.

Due to lack of commitment from participants to attend the advanced training, the next OSH trainings in Indonesia were still basic trainings. Indeed, it requires much effort and time to integrate OSH as part of labour moment in Indonesia. This reflection tries to look at some efforts taken up to improve OSH work in Indonesia. The most important and determinant factor here is the hard work of our local partners (LIPS and SPN Bogor-Serang) who are committed in struggling for OSH rights.


Entry point to improve OSH work in Indonesia

At ANROAV meeting in Manila, Yeyong Choi from KFEM and BANKO introduced Asbestos issue to Indonesia participants. The issue was followed up by Darisman (LIPS) and Prabowo (SPN Banten) in October 2008. The first action was to introduce Asbestos to a union (SPN Bogor as factories mentioned in Banko/KFEM research are in Bogor). The meeting taking place at LIPS Bogor in November 2008 was attended by KASBI, SPN Bogor and SPN Banten. In the process, “Ban Asbestos” issue was then projected as an entry point to start OSH network in Indonesia. Later on, there have been many lessons learned by AMRC and partners in working on this issue. From this process we have also learned the new method in sustaining OSH issues among workers as well as involving more organization and institution in working on OSH issues.

In the beginning, AMRC together with partners discussed the general framework of working toward OSH network in Indonesia. The framework (as put into Indonesia Ban Asbestos and OSH Network proposal) is:


Working Process Output
Identifying potential occupational hazard and diseases This process can be started from “Ban Asbestos” network then followed up by mapping other industry sectors Database on potential hazard and    occupational diseases and experience of tackling the issue
Reaching out other groups Involving other groups such as environment and public health legal aid in advocacy A comprehensive strategy
Working with community and informal sector Identifying the impact of industrial hazard upon community.Identifying occupational hazard in informal sector A comprehensive strategy



Lesson Learned from the general process


There are two important points, based on the discussion with partners, that we have learned from this process. Those are :


Organizing work 

How to organize community and unions to work together on OSH issue


Political work

Using available opportunity to push OSH issues to surface. The political work refers to approaching potential State institutions that might benefit workers in fighting for OSH rights.


Following the framework set up, our partners in Indonesia initiated the work by approaching community living around factories using asbestos in their production process. After socializing the issue, organizers faced their first challenge as the first reaction from the community was to shut down the factories. Surely this “demand” should be responded in such a way that it will not provoke a horizontal conflict. Bridging union, workers and community then becomes a pivotal point to work on this issue.


Table 1

Flow of work

flow of work 1


Table 2

Activities, actors and output (follow ups)


Activities and objectives Actors Output—Follow ups of activities
Socialising asbestos issue to SPN BogorObjectives:Identifying factories (SPN members) using asbestos in their production process Organizers (Darisman, Iwan Kusmawan and Prabowo)Union (SPN Bogors)—Representatives of plant level unions 1.      Identifying workers in Jeil Fajar who suffer from occupational diseases.2.      setting up communication mechanism with community around the production site.3.      Working on this issue requires involvement of institutions such as Health Department, local government and social insurance.
Socializing the issue to opinion leaders of the community SPN Bogor (initiating bridging process)OrganizersThree community members—They involved in KFEM research Scheduling community-union meeting.Note: in the process indeed organizers were required to take up some effort in convincing the community to involve. Later our partners will elaborate this in their report.
Socializing the issue to BKPM (Institute of Occupational and Social Healthcare) and Jamsostek Bogor Organizers—reaching out to State institutions ·         BKPM once conducted asbestos research in some factories. They are aware about the hazard of asbestos·         BKPM supports the research (“Ban Asbestos” work) and provides healthcare service for workers·         Jamsostek stated that PT Jeil Fajar and Tri Graha were Jamsostek members. (the meeting was intended to demand Jamsostek to be more aware of occupational diseases)


In sustaining the local network, the organizers also distributed questionnaire to workers regarding OSH issues in their work places. As mentioned before, the work on asbestos issue has given us an opportunity to learn more about organizing and political aspect of OSH issues. This part, in my opinion, will be better elaborated by our partners (LIPS and SPN Bogor). So far there has been a meeting between LIPS, SPN Bogor-Serang, OSH Working Group (the group set up in the workshop) and Walhi West Java. They are in the process of identifying other groups to work on this issue and formulating programs in preparing Indo-BAN (Indonesia Ban Asbestos Network).


Improving OSH Training Method

Along with the process of “Ban Asbestos” network, AMRC and Indonesia partners tried to improve OSH training program in Indonesia. Learning from the experience of working on asbestos issue, AMRC and partners then tried to discuss how to improve the training method so that the follow ups can benefit workers and community. The training was also intended to reach out other organizations that can back up workers in fighting for OSH rights.

The last training we held in Indonesia was to introduce occupational lung diseases to workers. There were some points we tried to elaborate in the training based on our evaluation on previous trainings. Previously, workers often undermined OSH issues as they thought the issues were not as political as other workers issues. Nevertheless in the last training, we tried to confront workers with the real situation of OSH in Indonesia.


Points emphasized were:

  • OSH indeed is a political issues. In the training we elaborated role of the State represented by Jamsostek. The training discussed the absence/unawareness on compensation law. This is a crucial issues hindering workers in claiming their OSH rights.
  • We also map out issues coming out from practice of corrupt State apparatus and how employers bribe OSH inspectors.
  • OSH issues are not only confined to production sites. Waste and pollutant and hazardous production process also has impact on community


Recommendation to improve the training

  • The type of the training is still ToT (Training of Trainer). Yet, the organizers should make a sort of agreement/contract with unions that they are committed to send the same representative to participate in OSH training. In that way, then, we can measure the output of the training and its impact upon workers.
  • The theme of training can be something specific based on the interests and the needs of participants. The next training will specifically focus on compensation law.
  • In the training we always identify the root of OSH issues in which State and social system are considered as root of problems. Yet, now we must identify the root in more concrete way. In the last training we tried to touch the role of State and its apparatus more detail. Later this was elaborated in the workshop.



OSH Workshop as an effort to consolidate OSH work in Indonesia

The basic idea of this workshop was to involve as many as possible groups concern on OSH Issues. Nevertheless, in the process, this workshop broadened our view on State attitude toward OSH issues. In the workshop, BKPM (Institute of Occupational and Social Healthcare), a newly set up body under Health Department, elaborated its role in pushing for the fulfillment of workers’ OSH rights. BKPM itself has set up its representatives in four industrial zones. Those are Bandung, Bogor, Tangerang and Serang. BKPM provides services to diagnose occupational diseases. Nevertheless, BKPM must submit the diagnosis to Manpower Department that later will decide whether workers diagnosed suffering from occupational diseases are entitled to get compensation. This situation, surely, creates “structural complexity” for BKPM which is under Health Department as officials at Manpower Department do not have academic capacity in assessing the diagnoses produced by BKPM.

So far, in investigating OSH issues, BKPM work covers various industries such as multi sector manufactures, informal sector (mainly footwear industry referring to ILO research in Indonesia) and plantation. The presence of BKPM indeed provides opportunity for workers to access medical diagnosis and facilities. Yet, according to BKPM coordinator, many workers groups are unaware about BKPM. In future, BKPM might work on OSH issues with workers groups in those four industrial zones.


While, Manpower Department (Bogor District Office) still considers OSH issues merely as technical issues that can be solved through providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The follow ups of this OSH workshop is to have unions meeting in Bandung to discuss deeper among unions on how to work on OSH issues including mapping OSH issues in specific industry (electronic, garment and textile and others).




  • Experiences in working on Asbestos issues should be well documented as they are precious lessons for organizers in working on other occupational diseases issues. As we emphasized before, asbestos issue is part of the framework toward the OSH network in Indonesia.
  • It is important to sustain collaboration with concerning body such as BKPM as it can fill in the gap in terms of resources. The most possible activity is to contact workers groups in four industrial zones where BKPM is located. From there, we can organize meeting so then workers and BKPM can work together for OSH issues.
  • The group (which is supposed to be the embryo of OSH network resulted from OSH workshop) is still in the process of formulating activities and common agendas. It is still on the initial stage. Nevertheless, we have to put some effort to sustain it. Collaboration with BKPM will also be the group activity or common agenda.
  • Another important work is to map out OSH issues in various industries in Indonesia and identify partners to work with. So far, we have reached out agriculture industry that is plantation industry in North Sumatra. Hopefully, soon, we can identify group to work on OSH issues in mining industry in Indonesia.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *