Measure on occupational safety and health standards sponsored in Senate plenary

Here is a proactive approach to help employers, workers and the government find and fix workplace hazards

Senator Joel Villanueva sponsored before the plenary Senate Bill (SB) No. 1317 or the proposed Occupational Safety and Health Standard Act, which aims to ensure humane work conditions.

The bill seeks to provide administrative and criminal penalties for non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) after numerous violations of OSHS in the country led to injuries or death of workers.

According to DOLE, from January 2014 to October 2016, there were reported 199 fatal workplace accidents and 232 non-fatal accidents. These numbers show the poor state of compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS). Despite the fact that workplace accidents would always prompt tighter regulations, compliance by all industries continue to be an issue.

Among the sectors considered vulnerable are: agriculture, construction, mining, and manufacturing.

SBN 1317 provides penalties for non-compliance with OSHS. This is to reiterate that violation of OSHS is a deliberate disrespect of the well-being of our workers and derogation of their right to humane conditions of work. The proposed administrative penalty of PI00,000.00 for every day of non-correction of violation intends to bring about immediate correction. The proposed measure also guarantees the payment of workers wages or income during work stoppage or suspension of operation due to imminent danger as a result of the employer's violation or fault.

The House of Representatives has approved its version of the bill on third and final reading. The measure is among the legislative priorities of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration. The Senate bill awaits second-reading approval.