DoLE vows more inspections to ensure safety of workers this pandemic

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) assured the public Wednesday that it will inspect more private establishments and workplaces to ensure safe and secure working conditions for country’s workers amid the COVID-29 pandemic.

DoLE-Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) Director Ma. Teresita “Tess” Cucueco and DoLE Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez made the assurance during the House Committee on Appropriations’ hybrid deliberations on the DoLE’s P27.5-billion budget for 2021.

Cucueco said along with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units (LGUs), they have conducted 48,000 labor inspections in over 40,000 establishments, covering 1.5 million workers.

“The DoLE continues to do the inspection and we continue to work with the companies to ensure that all of these public health standards in work places are met and they are complying with all of this and this is part of the OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) Law, we know that preventive measures are part of safety and health,” she said.

Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas urged the DoLE to make sure they will be able to look after the welfare of the workers after they suspended labor inspections.

"Gusto natin na makatiyak na ligtas ang mga manggawa sa pagawaan at kung nasusunod nga ang issuances kung mismong ang DoLE pala ay naglabas na sinususpinde ang inspection sa mga opisina at pagawaan,” she said, referring to Department Order No. 213 Series of 2020 which states that “all inspections are suspended for the duration of the community quarantine and that routine inspections shall continue to be suspended even after the lifting of the community quarantine.”

(We want to ensure that our workers in their workplaces are safe and to ensure that the issuances are being followed but how can we ensure that if the DoLE itself issued a directive that it is suspending inspection of offices and private establishments?)

Benavidez said they are counting on the private establishments to strictly implement minimum heath protocols to ensure the safety of their employees.

“The virus would become imminent danger if workplaces would not be compliant with the minimum heath protocols, nakadepende po ito sa pagpapatupad ng (it depends on the implementation of the) occupational safety and health standards,” he said.

He said employees may report to DoLE any violations committed by their firms concerning the occupational safety and health standards.

“We want to assure the public that the department continues to enforce existing standards, especially that of occupational safety and health standards, because it is actually very important in this time of pandemic that the employees and employers alike are safe and healthy,” Benavidez said.