Passage of ‘safer workplace’ law a victory to all workers

MANILASenator Joel Villanueva on Monday welcomed the signing of Republic Act 11058 or An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) that seeks to amend the 41-year-old Labor Code of the Philippines which does not penalize violations of OSHS.

"The signing of OSHS bill into law is a resounding victory to all our workers. With this law, the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) should be able to raise the OSH standards compliance than just the 67 percent compliance rate in 2017 with 72 workplace accidents, causing fatal injuries to 95 workers and non-fatal injuries to 117. One death or one injury due to workplace accident is far too many. This should stop," said Villanueva, author of the measure and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.

"After four Congresses, the passage of this measure into law is indeed an important milestone. I was a member of the House of Representatives when the OSHS bill was first filed in 2004. I am personally thankful to the President for supporting this cause to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our workers," the senator said in a news release.

The new law provides the duties of employers, workers, and other persons to: a) furnish the workers a place of employment free from hazardous conditions; b) give complete job safety instructions or orientation to all the workers; c) inform the workers of the hazards associated with their work; d) use only approved devices and equipment for the workplace; and e) comply with OSH standards including the provision of protective and safety devices such as personal protective equipment and machine guards.

The law also provides that all safety and health personnel are required to undergo the mandatory training on basic occupational safety and health for safety officers as prescribed by the DOLE.

Up to an amount of PHP100,000 will serve as an administrative penalty for the erring employer for every day of non-correction of violation, counted from the date the employer or contractor is notified of the violation or the date the compliance order is duly served on the employer.

The amount of fine imposed shall depend on the frequency or gravity of the violation committed or the damage caused, provided, however, that the maximum amount shall be imposed only when the violation exposes the workers to a risk of death, serious injury or serious illness.

RA 11058 covers all establishments, projects, sites, and workplaces in all branches of economic activity but subject to the appropriate standards of OSH based on number of employees, nature of operations, and the risk or hazard involved, as determined by the Secretary of Labor.

The measure also authorizes the Secretary of Labor and Employment and/or representatives to enter workplaces at any time of the day or night where work is being performed to examine records and investigate facts, conditions, or matters necessary to determine compliance with the provisions of the OSH law.

"The OSHS law will prevent workplace injuries or deaths, work-related disorders such as muscoskeletal disorders and occupational lung diseases, and ensure that workplace health and safety is everyone's responsibility," Villanueva said. (Senate PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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