Tag Archives: Occupational safety and health

[Press Release] Labor enforcement reforms needed in wake of Paranaque construction accident -PM

Labor enforcement reforms needed in wake of Paranaque construction accident

The militant labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called for stronger labor enforcement and labor inspection reforms in response to the accident at a construction site in Paranaque last Wednesday that claimed the life of one worker and injured 15. “Heads must roll and justice must be served for the needless deaths and injuries to construction workers,” insisted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spoksperson, as he predicted that more accidents are due to happen with the current real estate boom.

pmLogo1

PM lambasted employers for cutting corners in occupational safety in order to raise profits and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the lax implementation of labor and safety standards. “While capitalists were scrimping on protection for workers and DOLE was sleeping on its job of enforcement, workers are dying in the workplace,” Fortaleza elaborated.

Ricardo “Boy” Marcaida, a construction worker who is acting president of the Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Komunidad (SMK) in Malabon, averred that “Accidents are not acts of divine providence that can be dismissed as unavoidable. Instead accidents are the result of unsafe acts and therefore preventable by strict enforcement of occupational safety and health and labor standards.” SMK is a legitimate labor organization registered with the DOLE which is affiliated to PM.

“Under the regime of the DOLE’s self-assessment program, the number of labor inspectors have shrunk from around 240 to less than 200 and the number of establishments inspected plummeted from 60,000 in 2003 to just 6,000 in 2010. Self-assessment means that the government is asking the wolf to guard the sheep. No wonder the sheep get slaughtered,” Marcaida criticized.

He recommended that “We propose that the DOLE deputize labor leaders as labor inspectors. In so doing the number of inspectors and inspections can be increase several fold overnight, enforcement can be strengthened immediately, and workers lives and limbs can be saved.”

Fortaleza added that “The DOLE has again been caught sleeping on the job. DOLE must review contractors and their principals for compliance not just with safety regulations but labor standards such as payment of minimum wages and benefits, observance of working hours and remittance of social security among others. Construction workers are among the most overworked yet underpaid of employees since they are generally unorganized.”

Press Release
October 5, 2013
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956
Partido ng Manggagawa Spokesperson

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[Press Release] NGO calls for justice for power plant accident victims -CTUHR

NGO calls for justice for power plant accident victims

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is calling for justice for five workers who died in an accident at the power plant of SPC Malaya Power Corporation (SPC Malaya) in Pililia, Rizal on February 3.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights executive director Daisy Arago said, “There should be justice for the victims of this accident as well as other similar fatal accidents that happened in the workplace.” She added that what happened in Pililia is another case of “utter disregard by companies for occupational health and safety which resulted to workers’ deaths and injuries as in the case of Eton, Keppel, and septic tank workers in Cubao in previous times.”

On February 3, Sunday, five workers identified as Eduardo Fidel, Gregorio Ricalde, Roberto Mesias, Jeffrey Sinag, and Antonio Manguerra died while 12 others were injured after a 70-foot scaffolding collapsed. The workers were reportedly fixing the smokestack of SPC Malaya when suddenly the scaffolding they were using fell down.

Arago also pointed out, “the government hails the boom in construction and its contribution to the economy. On the other side however we witness these fatal accidents where workers die and their families are left with no breadwinner and are thus more impoverished. Surely, that is something the Aquino government cannot be proud of.”

“Worse, justice is ever elusive to the victims and their families. At best, the company would only give the families a few thousands of pesos and that’s it.”

Arago also noted that while it seems positive that the Department of Labor and Employment has suspended the operations of the SPC Malaya to give way to investigations, there is no guarantee that justice will be rendered. “They also did that to Eton and Keppel but what happened? Were these companies held criminally liable?” Arago added.

CTUHR’s documentation reveals that at least 4 workers die every month due to unsafe working conditions since 2011. In 2010, 35 percent of victims of work-related accidents (both fatal and non-fatal) come from the construction industry.

For reference: Jane Siwa, Public Information and Education, +632.411.0256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE
08 February 2012

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[Press Release] Labor group urges government to amend laws on OHS, contractualization -CTUHR

Labor group urges government to amend laws on OHS, contractualization

Following the death of four septic tank workers in Ali Mall Quezon City last Thursday, August 30, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) urged the government to amend laws concerning occupational health and safety (OHS) standards and labor contractualization.

Daisy Arago, executive director of CTUHR said, “Apart from a thorough investigation of the case, this incident calls for a review and amendment of our laws concerning OHS standards and labor contractualization.”

According to Arago, although Rule 11-20 of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) OHS Standards stipulates the employers should provide PPE’s or personal protective equipment to workers in hazardous workplaces, the law is mum on the employers’ accountability to the law and the victims when accidents occur.

“Rule 11-20 only identifies what are considered hazardous workplaces and states that employers should provide PPEs to their workers involved in these areas…but what must be done to those employers that are found guilty of not complying with the OHS standards?” Arago stressed.

“Especially in cases where work-related accidents lead to death, it is not enough that employers are only made to burden funeral expenses or give the families of victims some thousands of pesos as consolation for their loved ones’ death. Ultimately, employers must face administrative, civil and even criminal liability to bring full justice to the victims,” Arago said.

Arago further explained that clear sanctions will give teeth to the law and could somehow deter future accidents due to negligence and non-compliance to OHS standards by companies.

On August 30, around 3:30 am, Marvin Aleman and Romy, Rodel, and Romel Suarez drowned while they were finishing their work in a septic tank in Ali Mall. Investigation of the local government of Quezon City points to RCBC plumbing services, the job contractor, as solely responsible for the death of the workers.

Meanwhile, CTUHR also showed concern why it is only the contractor, RCBC plumbing, which was found responsible for the accident. “It shouldn’t only be the contractor; the principal, Alimall, should also be made to answer [to the victims]. Why did they sign a contract with RCBC plumbing services when it does not comply with OHS standards?” Arago asked.

Arago also criticized contractualization, as a way of capitalists to evade responsibility to workers in cases of accidents and called for the repeal of the law on contractualization, “This case is just among the many reasons why the law on labor contractualization must be repealed. The changes made by DOLE Department Order 18-A are not enough to protect the workers’ welfare. The fact the labor contracting is still allowed, principals can always get away from liability in cases like these by pointing fingers at their contractors. In the end it is the workers who suffer the most.”

PRESS RELEASE
03 September 2012
For Reference: Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executie Director, (+632) 411.0256

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[From the web] Firms meet equipment standards, but lack health facilities –

Firms meet equipment standards, but lack health facilities

February 02, 2012

A LABOR expert has stressed the need for companies to value workers more than machines, in reaction to a government report showing that while many establishments meet equipment standards, measures to ensure the well-being of workers are severely lacking.

The Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) reported that 79.5% of 23,723 non-agricultural establishments surveyed in 2010 conducted regular inspection and maintenance of equipment.

Nearly eight in 10 companies also performed maintenance on mechanical and electrical facilities.

While these were supposedly conducted as control measures for work safety, only 51.3% of the establishments provided their workers with information and training on occupational safety and health.

Moreover, less than half of the companies conducted regular monitoring of hazards (dust, fumes, noise, heat, etc.) in work areas, had medical facilities, or practiced proper handling of hazardous materials.

Read full article @ www.bworld.com.ph

[From the web] Solon seeks salary adjustment for factory and office workers

Solon seeks salary adjustment for factory and office workers
by House of Representatives of the Philippines

Workers in factories and offices could soon get higher pay and additional benefits under a bill adjusting their salaries and upgrading their working conditions.

Rep. Catalina Cabrera Bagasina (Party-list, ALE), author of House Bill 5324, said the bill seeks to increase the workers overtime pay, premium pay, holiday pay and maternity leave benefits.

The bill seeks to amend Book III of Presidential Decree 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.

“It is deemed proper to adjust the remuneration of laborers and employees due to the rising prices of basic commodities and increasing rate of living standards,” Bagasina said.

Under this measure, workers in the factories and offices shall be given the option to work full time or part time.

The bill provides that a night shift differential shall be paid, from 10 to 30 percent of the regular wage for each hour worked between eight o’clock in the evening and six o’clock in the morning.

Overtime work beyond eight hours a day shall be paid equivalent to their regular wage plus an additional 30 percent of his or her regular wage.

Read full article @ www.facebook.com