Duterte signs workers' safety law

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2018 05:55 PM

Photo courtesy of Occupational Safety and Health Center, DOLE

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure strengthening compliance with occupational safety and health standards.

Republic Act 11058, signed by the President on August 17, seeks to “ensure a safe and healthful workplace for all working people by affording them full protection against all hazards in their work environment.”

The law mandates employers, contractors, and subcontractors to provide workers a place of employment “free from hazardous conditions that are causing or are likely to cause death, illness, or physical harm to workers.”

Employers are also required to give complete job safety instructions or orientation to all workers, inform them of the hazards associated with their work, use only approved devices and equipment for the workplace, and comply with occupational safety and health standards, including training, medical examination and, where necessary, provision of protective and safety devices.

The law also requires that employers provide measures to deal with emergencies and accidents, including first-aid arrangements.

It also mandates that all workers be appropriately informed by their employer about all types of hazards in the workplace, and that workers have the right to refuse to work under dangerous circumstances without threat or reprisal.

All establishments, projects, and sites where work is being undertaken must have safety signage and device to warn the workers and the public of the hazards in the workplace, the law states.

The law also states that workplaces must have a safety and health program, which should be prepared and executed by the employer and submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment for approval.

It also calls for the creation of occupational safety and health committee in every workplace.

The committee shall effectively plan, develop, oversee and monitor the implementation of the safety and health program. A safety officer shall also be designated to ensure that a safety and health program is duly followed and enforced.

Workplaces must have qualified occupational health personnel such as physicians, nurses, certified first-aid personnel and dentists, the law states. The number of health personnel, equipment and facilities and the amount of supplies must be appropriate to the total number of workers and the risk or hazard involved.

The employer, project owner, general contractor, or subcontractor, if any, and any person who manages, controls, or supervise the work being undertaken will be “jointly and solidarily liable” for compliance with this law.

The law also outlines the powers given to the government when it comes to inspect workplaces.

Under the law, a worker may also file claims for compensation arising out of work-related disability or death.

The law, meanwhile, prohibits willful refusal of an employer to comply with occupational safety and health standards. Failure to comply with the occupational safety and health standards or with a compliance order will make an employer liable for an administrative fine not exceeding P100,000 per day until the violation is corrected.

It is also against the law to aid in the non-compliance of an employer to safety and health standards, obstruct the labor department's access to a workplace for inspection, and commit misrepresentation in relation to adherence to safety and health standards.

It also illegal to make retaliatory measures against any worker who gives information relative to the inspection being conducted.