‘Work stoppage’ ordered at Cebu food plant after worker’s death


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Central Visayas has issued a work stoppage order (WSO) in the sugar pulverizing machine section of a food and beverage manufacturing plant in Mandaue City due to an incident on June 2 where a worker died while cleaning.

Emmanuel Ferrer, DOLE-7 assistant regional director, said the issuance of the WSO will pave the way for an investigation to determine the company’s lapses in the occupational safety standards and to verify the circumstances behind the incident.

“It’s very unfortunate that the safety features are being put to question. It’s very important because safety is our paramount concern, because we are dealing with lives,” Ferrer told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.

Marites Mercado, DOLE officer-in-charge for Metro Cebu Tri-Cities, said they immediately conducted an investigation after they received information about the death of Stephen Corilla inside the plant reportedly owned by the Universal Robina Corp. (URC).

Corilla, 32, died on Thursday last week when he reportedly got sucked into a pulverizing machine of the plant in Barangay Tabok, Mandaue City while he was cleaning it.

Mercado said the agency noticed a violation of the company particularly on the occupational health safety standards.

"Since someone died and because there is a defective interlocking device that does not work to the sugar pulverizing machine so our head of office will issue a temporary work stoppage order to URC and to prevent another incident to happen,” Mercado said in the vernacular.

Apart from the work stoppage, Mercado said the company will also be slapped with a PHP100,000 penalty pending an explanation on how the incident happened.

Ferrer said the company can only operate again if it can assure that the security and safety features of the machines are put in place to prevent another untoward incident that will put the lives of the workers in danger.

Source: Philippines News Agency