Press Releases
WORK STOPPAGE ORDER AND DOLE D. O. 198, SERIES OF 2018

One of the important requirements for the approval of a property owner’s building permit is the Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP) document guided by the implementing rules and regulations of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) along with the Memorandum of Agreement of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The document ensures the protection and welfare of all employed construction workers and also the general public that is within or around the site of construction.

Recently, the DOLE-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOLE-CAR) issued a Work Stoppage Order (WSO) on a construction project in Baguio City, pending the occupational and health standards investigation after the death of one of the workers during an excavation activity at the project site when the rip-rap collapsed. DOLE-CAR Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra issued the order after the investigators (Labor Inspectors) submitted the Occupational Safety and Health Investigation (OSHI) report.

Basing on the OSH investigation report, the construction firm and the project owner violated several provisions of Republic Act No. 11058 or an” Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” and DOLE Department Order 198, Series of 2018 or the “Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11058” as follows: no safety officer and first aider; non-provision of Personal Protective Equipment (safety shoes and skull guard); no safety signages; no approved Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP); no Occupational Safety and Health Program (OSHP) and no Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) License.

The construction firm and the project owner were penalized with a fine amounting to one hundred thousand Pesos (P100,000,00) for the death of its employee as provided by DO 198-18 and were ordered to observe the Occupational Safety and Health Standards and the provisions of DO 198-18 after submitting proofs of correction of the Occupational Safety and Health violations.

The Construction Safety and Health Program assures safety and harmony among the workers and contractors involved in construction or renovation of projects such as residential, commercial, offices, and shops. With its approval from DOLE, it helps in preventing worksite accidents and injuries through the project’s implementation of suitable programs, activities, systems and procedures passed in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards. Property owners should prepare and complete the said document since it is also a primary requisite for having an approved building permit.

A Work Stoppage Order (WSO) is issued as soon as the imminent danger situation is confirmed to exist by the DOLE. Workers may validly refuse to work until the lifting of the WSO. The law affords protection to the safety officer and workers against retaliatory acts or reprisals.

Workers are entitled to their wages corresponding to the period of work stoppage or suspension if the imminent danger occurs as a result of the employer’s violation or fault. D.O. 198-18 includes a presumption that the employer is presumed a party at fault if the WSO was issued secondary to an imminent danger situation, which would imperil the lives of the workers.

Imminent danger is defined as “a situation caused by a condition or practice in any place of employment that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm.”

If the DOLE determines that an imminent danger situation exists in the workplace that may result to death or illness, workers have to right to refuse work pursuant to R.A. 11058 (Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards).

Workers may report directly to the DOLE or other competent government agencies accidents, dangerous occurrences and hazards in the work place. As a preventive measure, Section 6 of D.O. 198-18 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 11058) grants the safety officer the discretion to implement work stoppage or suspension of operations in cases of imminent danger.

Section 22 of RA 11058 or the Visitorial Power of the Secretary of Labor and Employment state that pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines and other applicable laws, the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Secretary's authorized representatives shall have the authority to enforce the mandatory occupational safety and health standards in all establishments and conduct, together with representatives from the labor and the employer sectors, an annual spot audit on compliance with OSH standards. The Secretary or the Secretary's duly authorized representatives can enter workplaces at anytime 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 this Act.

No person or entity shall obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the orders of the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Secretary's duly authorized representatives issued pursuant to the authority granted under Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, and no lower court or entity shall issue temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order or otherwise assume jurisdiction over any case involving the enforcement orders.

For more information on RA 11058 and DO 198-18 visit www.dole.gov.ph

END/Patrick T Rillorta

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2021-03-24
Director's Corner
Dir. Nathaniel V. Lacambra
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