Senator Joel Villanueva has expressed alarm over the increasing cases of non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards (OSH) that resulted to the endangerment of workers’ lives.
The recent incident happened on May 14 when a fire gutted a warehouse of the Yokohama tire factory in Clark. At present, there are still no report on its cause and the number of injuries if there was any.
“Nakababahala na po ang halos taun-taon nalang na kapabayaan sa lugar ng trabaho. Hindi lamang po ito nakakaantala sa negosyo kundi nailalagay din po nito sa peligro ang buhay ng ating mga manggagawa,” Villanueva said.
The legislator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources, discussed Senate Bill No. 1317 which seeks to provide administrative and criminal penalties for non-compliance with OSH.
During its hearing, the Department of Labor and Employment’s Bureau of Working Conditions revealed that there were 52 fatal and 54 non-fatal workplace accidents reported in 2014. The number increased to 125 fatal and 69 non-fatal reported workplace accidents in 2015. Meanwhile, as of October 2016 the bureau recorded a number of 22 fatal and 18 non-fatal workplace accidents.
For the longest time, violation of occupational health and safety standards has no fines or penalties. DOLE only issues a Work Stoppage Order (WSO) if there is an imminent danger or if it would result to disabling injury.
“Lumabas po sa ating pagdinig na work stoppage lang ang parusa, walang kulong o multa sa pag-violate ng OSH standards. Obviously, this practice has not been successful in inculcating culture of OSH compliance nor in addressing wanton disregard of OSH standards,” the lawmaker said.
Under the proposed measure, an amount of P100,000.00 will serve as an administrative penalty for the erring employer for every day of non-correction of violation while an amount ranging from P250,000.00 to P500,000.00 or imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years will be meted out if a worker dies.
“I believe that non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards is a crime, it’s a reckless endangerment that should not be tolerated,” the senator said.
“Violations of OSH standards are not only patent disregard of the standards but deliberate disrespect of the well-being of our workers and derogation of their right to safe and healthy workplaces,” Villanueva concluded.