Villanueva calls on DOLE to send labor inspectors to Skyway accident site

Published November 21, 2020, 5:34 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately deploy labor inspectors at the ongoing Skyway Extension project in Muntinlupa City to determine if there were lapses in the safety protocols at the construction site.

Sen. Joel Villanueva (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

One person died and four others were injured after a steel girder being used for the project fell on vehicles along East Service Road in Cupang, Muntinlupa at 8:50 a.m. Saturday.

“Isa po sa peligrosong lugar-paggawa ang mga construction site, kaya po mahigpit ang pagpapatupad ng mga safety measures upang siguraduhin na walang aksidente na mangyayari at bawasan ang mga risk factors dahil ito ay maaaring maging mapaminsala. Ang mga manggagawa po natin ang unang napapahamak tuwing may aksidente sa lugar-paggawa kaya mahigpit po ang pagpapatupad natin ng occupational safety and health standards (One of the most dangerous workplaces are construction sites, that’s why safety measures should be strictly implemented to make sure that no accidents will happen and to reduce risk factors that can be damaging. Our workers are the ones at risk when there are accidents in workplaces so there should be strict compliance with our occupational safety and health standards),” Villanueva said in a statement. 

“Ang agarang imbestigasyon ng ating labor inspectors ay kinakailangan po upang matukoy ang sanhi at makapagbigay ng solusyon sa problema para siguraduhin hindi na mauulit ito (Our labor inspectors should immediately investigate so we would know what caused this problem and to avoid its repeat),” he added.

Villanueva, principal author and sponsor of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) Act or the Republic Act No. 11058, said the construction managers should immediately report to DOLE and cooperate with the inspection.

Under the OSHS law, the DOLE is authorized to visit workplaces to conduct labor inspections, including checks on existing occupational safety and health practices.

Should DOLE inspectors determine OSH violations, erring companies may be penalized, including a fine of P100,000 per day until the violation is addressed.

Villanueva said employers are mandated by the law to maintain a safe working environment for its workers.

Among others, employers are obligated to inform and educate workers about the risks that come with their jobs, and provide safety gear to mitigate the risks. They shall also appoint a safety officer to oversee their health and safety program, he said.

San Miguel Corporation, the proponent of the Skyway project, said it regrets the “unfortunate accident” and assured a thorough investigation on the matter. Project contractor EEI Corporation also said it will immediately review its safety and operating protocols.