New law ensures safer, hazard-free workplaces

MELVEEN MELOCOTON, Officer-in-Charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) Regional Extension Unit No. 6, presents the salient provisions of the Department Order No. 198-18 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11058 (Occupational Safety and Health Standards or OSHS Law), on Feb. 7, 2019 at J7 Hotel in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. (PIA-Iloilo)

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has started implementing the rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 11058 also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law.

In a press briefing held recently at J7 Hotel in Iloilo City, Melveen Melocoton, Officer-in-Charge of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) Regional Extension Unit No. 6, said the coverage of DOLE Department Order No. 198, Series of 2018, Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), shall apply to all establishments, projects, sites and all other places where work is being undertaken in all branches of economic activity.

“These include establishments located inside special economic zones and other investment promotion agencies; utilities engaged in air, sea, and land transportation; industries such as mining, fishing, construction, agriculture, and maritime; and contractors and subcontractors including those engaged in the projects of the public sector,” he said.

He said, however, that 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.”

Based on the IRR, every employer, contractor, or subcontractor, and any person who manages, control or supervise the work shall:

  • Equip a place of employment for workers free from hazardous conditions that are causing or are likely to cause death, illness, or physical harm.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • Comply with all reportorial requirements of the OSH standards; and register establishment to DOLE as provided under the OSH standards.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure compliance to OSH standards every worker 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.

Failure or refusal to comply with OSH standards or compliance order shall be deemed willful when done voluntarily, deliberately and intentionally.

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.

When the violation exposed the worker to death, serious injury, or serious illness, the imposable penalty shall be P100,000.

The department order was signed Dec. 6, 2018; published on Jan. 9, 2019, and was effective Jan. 25, 2019. (PIA-Iloilo)

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