Senator Joel Villanueva has called for the immediate prioritization of a bill promoting a safer workplace following the recent collapse of a Skyway Stage 3 structure in Makati City.
The said incident reportedly caused injuries to five construction workers of DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) and two vehicles were also damaged.
Villanueva cited the lack of stricter regulations on occupational safety and health standards as a major factor leading to several accidents in the workplace.
“Incidents such as this recent collapse of structure in South Superhighway could have been avoided if we only have a stricter law that would penalize companies which are non-compliant of our country’s regulations on occupational safety and health standards,” said the legislator, chair of Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources.
The lawmaker is the author of Senate Bill No. 1317 or “An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” that seeks to amend the 41-year old Labor Code of the Philippines which, at present, does not declare unlawful violations of OSHS.
For the longest time, violation of occupational health and safety standards has no fines or penalties. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) only issues a Work Stoppage Order (WSO) if there is an imminent danger or would result to disabling injury.
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 will be meted out if a worker dies.
“Neglecting to comply with occupational safety and health standards does not only pose risk to our workers but may also inconvenience other people as it could cause heavy traffic and even stop business transactions near the affected workplace,” the senator added.
South Superhighway is currently closed to traffic following the collapse of Skyway beam steel bars in Makati City near Cash N’ Carry.
“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. I believe the government must seriously look into this,” he concluded.