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STIFFER FINES ON ESTABLISHMENTS, PROJECTS AND SITES VIOLATING OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY RULES

Baguio City - Establishments with occupational safety and health (OSH) violations may face stiffer penalties after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11058 also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law.

 Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has signed Department Order No. 198 which details the IRR of RA 11058. The 23-page IRR, which was signed last December 7, 2018 taking effect January 25 this year, applies to all establishments, projects and sites and all other places where work is being undertaken wherein the number of employees, nature of operations and risk or hazard involved in the business require compliance. It also covers the contractors and subcontractors including those engaged in the projects of the public sector.

However, the IRR “does not apply to the public sector such as national government agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations with charters, government financial institutions, state universities and colleges and local government units,” as these are governed by appropriate rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and other government agencies.

For the information of employers, contractors, or subcontractors, and any person who manages, control or supervise the work being undertaken, they , they should equip the place of employment for workers free from hazardous conditions; provide complete job safety instructions and proper orientation to all workers; ensure that the chemical, physical and biological substances and agents, and ergonomic and psychosocial stresses under their control are without risk to health when the appropriate measures of protection are taken; use only approved specific industry set of standards of devices and equipment for the workplace as applicable; comply with occupational safety and health (OSH) including training, medical examination and when necessary, provisions on protective and safety devices such as personal protective equipment and machine guards.

In addition, employers, contractors, or subcontractors should make arrangement for workers and their representatives to participate in the processes of organizing, planning, and implementation, monitoring, evaluation and action for improvement of the OSH management system;  provide, when necessary, for measures identifying trainings and drill, evacuation plans, etc., to deal with emergencies, fires, and accidents including first-aid arrangements and to comply with all reportorial requirements of the OSH standards; and register establishment to DOLE as provided under the OSH standards.

Meanwhile, to ensure compliance with OSH standards, the workers shall participate in capacity-building activities on safety and health and other OSH-related topics and programs; proper use of all safeguards and safety devices; comply with instructions to prevent accidents or imminent danger situations; observe prescribed steps to be taken in cases of emergency, including participation on national or local disaster drills and report any work hazard that may be discovered in the workplace.

Any willful failure or refusal of an employer, contractor or subcontractor to comply with the OSH Standards or with a compliance order issued by the Labor Secretary or authorized representative will be penalized as follows: a) Establishments, which will fail to register with the DOLE, or provide job safety instruction or orientation to their employees prior to work will be fined P20,000; b) If a company fails to provide the necessary OSH training to their workers, they could be assessed a fine of P25,000;                  c) A P30,000 fine will be imposed for firms if they commit these infractions: failure to provide safety signage and devices; failure to provide the necessary medical supplies, equipment and facilities; and failure to submit reportorial requirements as prescribed by OSH standards.

The P40,000 fine will apply for the lack of safety officer and/or Occupational Health personnel;  personnel or professionals for OSH standards who have no certification; lack of safety and health committee; lack or unimplemented comprehensive safety and health program; lack of information on hazards and risks; violation of sanitary and welfare facilities provisions of the OSH Law while a P50,000 penalty will be imposed for unapproved or uncertified devices and equipment; violation on the personal protective equipment (PPE) of the OSH law; and noncompliance with the DOLE’s work stoppage order (WSO).

In addition to the prohibited acts and its corresponding penalties, an employer, contractor or subcontractor who is found to have repeatedly violated the same prohibited act shall be penalized of the corresponding fine plus an additional fine equivalent to 50 percent thereof for every instance of repeat violation.

Erring companies which would repeatedly commit OSH violations, misrepresentations on OSH standards, or implement retaliatory measures against their employees will face additional penalties. Moreover, if any of the following acts is present and there is noncompliance, the penalty of P100,000 administrative fine shall be imposed separate and in addition to the daily administrative fine imposed. Also, when the violation exposes the worker to death, serious injury or illness, the imposable penalty will be P100,000.

The penalties shall be computed on a per day basis until full compliance is reckoned from the date of notice or service of the compliance order to the employer without prejudice to the filing of a criminal or civil case in the regular courts.

For more information on RA 11058 and DOLE Department Order no. 198, series of 2018 visit www.dole.gov.ph or www.oshc.dole.gov.ph or you can contact Ms. Amaranth Rae Abalos @ 443-5338 or 619-0275.

END/Patrick T Rillorta

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2019-03-04
Dir.Exequiel Guzman
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