New law aims to ensure safer workplaces
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act No 11058, a law meant to ensure employers, contractors, and sub-contractors comply with occupational safety and health standards (OSHS).
The new law requires employers, contractors, sub-contractors, or "any person who manages, controls, supervises" work to provide for workers a place of work that is safe from conditons that could cause death, illness, or physical harm.
It also specifies various rights of workers – right to be informed about safety hazards in the workplace, right to refuse unsafe work, right to report accidents, and right to be provided personal protective equipment "free of charge."
The law was signed by Duterte on August 17.
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.
The labor secretary is empowered by the law to visit any work establishment to assess whether they are complying with the standards on safe workplaces.
Safety officers, committee: Each workplace must have a safety officer who undergoes an 8-hour training on occupational safety and health to be given by the DOLE. Same goes for health officers. The safety officer is in charge of ensuring a safe workplace and is empowered to order a stop to work in case of a potentially dangerous situation.
Workplaces have to form an Occupational Safety and Health Committee composed of the employer; the company's safety officer; safety officers of the contractors and sub-contractors; physicians, nurses, first-aiders, dentists as ex officio members if applicable; and workers' representatives (from the union, if there is; if none, from a majority vote of by the workers).
Lauded: Senator Joel Villanueva welcomed the signing of the law, calling it a "resounding victory to all our workers."
He recalled that in 2017, there were 95 workers who died due to 72 workplace accidents. The compliance rate to OSHS that year was at 67%.
Villanueva chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.
“After 4 Congresses, the passage of this measure into law is indeed an important milestone. I was a member of the House of Representatives when the OSHS bill was first filed in 2004. I am personally thankful to the President for supporting this cause to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our workers,” said the senator. – Rappler.com