The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the implementation of Republic Act No. 11058 also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed Department Order No. 198 detailing the IRR of RA 11058. The IRR shall apply to all establishments, projects and sites and all other places where work is being undertaken in all branches of economic activity. It also covers the contractors and subcontractors including those engaged in the projects of the public sector.

Based on the IRR, every employer, contractor, or subcontractor, and any person who manages, control or supervise the work shall 1) Equip a place of employment for workers free from hazardous conditions; 2) Provide complete job safety instructions and proper orientation to all workers; 3) 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. 4) Use only approved specific industry set of standards of devices and equipment for the workplace as applicable; 5) 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; 6) 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; 7) Provide, when necessary, for measures identifying trainings and drill, evacuation plans, etc., to deal with emergencies, fires, and accidents including first-aid arrangements and ; 8) Comply with all reportorial requirements of the OSH standards; and register establishment to DOLE as provided under the OSH standards.

For the penalties, if employers, contractors, sub-contractors, or work supervisors violate this law, they will have to pay a fine of P100,000 for every day that a violation is not remedied, counting from the day the employer is notified or the compliance order is issued by the Department of Labor and Employment.

To ensure compliance with OSH standards, the workers shall also do their part as follows: 1) “Participate in capacity-building activities on safety and health and other OSH-related topics and programs”; 2) Proper use of all safeguards and safety devices; 3) Comply with instructions to prevent accidents or imminent danger situations; 4) Observe prescribed steps to be taken in cases of emergency, including participation on national or local disaster drills and 5) Report any work hazard that may be discovered in the workplace.

For prohibited acts, failure or refusal of an employer, contractor, or subcontractor to comply will be meted a fine, ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 depending on the administrative violation committed. 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.

The DOLE also stated that when the violation exposes the worker to death, serious injury or illness, the imposable penalty will be P100,000. The High Risk Establishments refers to a workplace wherein presence of hazard or potential hazard within the company may affect and/or health of workers not only within but also persons outside the premises of the workplace. There is high level of exposure to safety and health standards, and probability of a major accident resulting to disability or death or major illness is likely to occur if no preventive or control measures are in place. The following workplaces commonly associated with potentially high risk activities are chemical works and chemical production plants; construction; deep sea fishing; explosives and pyrotechnics factories; firefighting; healthcare facilities; installation of communication accessories, towers and cables; LPG filling, refilling, storage and distribution; Mining; petrochemical and biofuel works and refineries; power generation, transmission and distribution in the energy sector; storage, handling, and distribution center for toxic or hazardous chemicals; Storage and handling of fertilizers in high volume; transportation; water supply, sewerage, waste management, remediation activities; works in which chlorine is used in bulk; and activities closely similar to those enumerated and other activities as determined by DOLE in accordance with existing issuances on the classification of establishments.

The effectivity of the IRR, which was signed on December 6, 2018 and will take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation. 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 more information about the Occupational Safety and Health Program, visit www.oshc.dole.gov.ph or www.dole.gov.ph and www.car.dole.ph

END/Patrick T Rillorta