DOLE flags absence of safety officers in most firms

By Ferdinand Patinio

July 13, 2022, 7:02 pm

<p>DOLE-OSHC executive director Noel Binag <em>(File photo)</em></p>

DOLE-OSHC executive director Noel Binag (File photo)

MANILA – Most companies do not have safety officers and committees that will ensure compliance with government rules on workplace safety, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) executive director Noel Binag said this is among the common violations noted during labor inspections conducted by the agency in many establishments.

"Aside from the absence of safety officers and safety and health committee, some do not have first-aid responders. The big companies should also have occupational health personnel who are on standby for any emergencies or accidents," he said in Filipino.

Binag, meanwhile, said promoting workplace safety must be a shared responsibility.

“The prevention of accidents or illnesses in the workplace requires that cooperation, not just the job of DOLE or OSHC. This is a joint effort of our employers, our safety officers, and especially the participation of our workers. They have a big role to play because if they see such imminent dangers, we call their attention. Let's help our employers so that the workplace is in order and safe,” he added.

Binag's remarks came following two recent workplace accidents in the country.

Last week, two employees repairing an elevator on the sixth floor of a building in Makati City were killed after an elevator crashed from the 38th floor.

On Monday night, six construction workers were killed after a concrete fence collapsed on their barracks in Barangay Kaybagal Central in Tagaytay City.

On the other hand, he noted that workers may refuse to work if there is imminent danger in the work area.

"We call that the presence of imminent danger. Our workers have the right to refuse to work because of this situation-imminent danger. They also have the right to report to their safety officer, to their employer and especially to the Department of Labor and Employment,” he added.

The enforcement of health and safety standards in workplaces is pursuant to Republic Act 11058 or the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) Act.

Under the law, firms may be slapped with a daily administrative fine ranging from PHP20,000 to a maximum of PHP100,000 for non-compliance with requirements on occupational and health safety. (PNA)