Senate OKs bill mandating workplace safety standards

Published February 20, 2018, 10:06 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate has approved on third and final reading the measure which would mandate stricter compliance to occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) for workplaces.

Senate of the Philippines / Manila Bulletin
Senate of the Philippines / Manila Bulletin

Senate Bill No. 1317, or the proposed Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standard, was approved with 20 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention on Monday.

If signed into law, the bill would amend the 41- year-old Labor Code to impose administrative penalties on employers who fail to comply with requirements set under the OSHS.

The measure proposes to penalize employers with a fine of up to P100,000 every day until they correct their violation.

It also guaranteed the payment of workers’ wages and income during work stoppage or suspension of operation “due to imminent danger as a result of the employer’s violation or fault.”

Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and author of the measure, called its passage a “success” for Filipino workers and those who died in workplace accidents.

In a speech after his bill’s passage, Villanueva recalled the fire that burned down a mall in Davao City last December, and killed 37 call center workers and a mall safety officer.

“All because of the absence of a functioning sprinkler system and fire exits. All because of the reckless disregard for the lives and safety of our workers. All because of the absence of a comprehensive workplace safety law,” he said.

He stressed there had been more than 200 fatal workplace accidents since 2014.

The senator said the passage of the measure would ensure the well-being workers and protect the right to humane conditions of work.

He, on one hand, noted that it would increase workers’ productivity and would result to successful businesses.