By Vanne ELaine Terrazola
Following the fire that trapped and killed 38 people in a mall in Davao City before Christmas, Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday called on his colleagues to expedite the approval of a bill that promotes safer workplaces and imposes penalties to ensure employers’ compliance.
Senate Bill 1317 or the proposed Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof is pending second reading in the Senate.
Villanueva, author of the measure and chairperosn of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Development, said the bill, if approved, would amend the 41-year-old Labor Code of the Philippines which, at present, does not declare unlawful violations of OSHS.
The senator said that for the longest time, violation of occupational health and safety standards are not imposed with penalties.
The Department of Labor and Employment only issues a work stoppage order if there is an eminent danger or would result to disabling injury.
“Obviously, this practice has not been successful in inculcating culture of OSH compliance nor in addressing wanton disregard of OSH standards,” Villanueva said.