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4 – Compliance and enforcement

1. Summary

▪ Joint and solidary liability is imposed on the employer, project owner, general contractor, contractor or subcontractor, if any, and any person who manages, controls or supervises the work being undertaken.

▪ The DOLE Secretary has visitorial powers and standards setting power.

▪ Violations of prohibited acts results in penalties.

2. Joint and solidary liability of employers

The employer, project owner, general contractor, contractor or subcontractor, if any, and any person who manages, controls or supervises the work being undertaken shall be jointly and solidarily liable for compliance with this Act. (Section 21, R.A. 11058)

3. Enforcement of occupational safety and health standards

a. DOLE Secretary’s visitorial power

Pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines and other applicable laws, the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Secretary’s authorized representatives shall have the authority to enforce the mandatory occupational safety and health standards in all establishments and conduct, together with representatives from the the labor and the employer sectors, an annual spot audit on compliance with OSH standards. The Secretary or the Secretary’s duly authorized representatives can enter workplaces at anytime of the day or night where work is being performed to examine records and investigate facts, conditions or matters necessary to determine compliance with the provisions of this Act. (Section 22, Ibid.)

No person or entity shall obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the orders of the Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Secretary’s duly authorized representatives issued pursuant to the authority granted under Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, and no lower court or entity shall issue temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order or otherwise assume jurisdiction over any case involveing the enforcement orders. (Paragraph 2, Section 22, Ibid.)

The Secretary of Labor and Employment may likewise order stoppage of work or suspension of operations of any unit or department of an establishment when noncompliance with law or implementing rules and regulations poses grave and imminent danger to the health and safety of workers in the workplace. (Paragraph 3, Section 22, Ibid.)

The procedure for inspecting work premises, notifying employers of violations, and issuing compliance or stoppage orders shall be pursuant to the procedure laid down in Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines as implemented through relevant regulations issued by the DOLE on administration and enforcement of labor laws. The inspector or person authorized by the DOLE to enforce compliance with OSH standards shall present proper identification upon request, and such inspector or person shall only act within the authority or direction given by the Secretary of Labor and Employment. (Paragraph 4, Section 22, Ibid.)

The Secretary of Labor and Employment or the Secretary duly authorized representatives shall inspect establishments and workplaces regardless of the size and nature of operation. Any kind of self-assessment shall not take the place of labor inspection conducted by the DOLE. However, chartered cities may be allowed to conduct industrial safety inspections of establishments within their jurisdiction in coordination with the DOLE: Provided, That they have adequate facilities and competent personnel for purpose as determines by the DOLE, and subject to national standards established by the latter. (Paragraph 5, Section 22, Ibid.)

b. Payment of workers during work stoppage due to imminent danger

If stoppage of work due to imminent danger occurs as a result of the employer’s violation or fault, the employer shall pay the workers concerned their wages during the period of such stoppage of work or suspension of operation. For purposes of payment of wages and any other liabilities arising from a work stoppage order is issued secondary to an imminent danger situation which would imperil the lives of the workers. (Section 23, Ibid.)

c. Delegation of authority

The authority to enforce mandatory OSH standards may be delegated by the Secretary of Labor and Employment to a competent government authority. (Section 24, Ibid.)

d. DOLE Secretary’s standards setting power

The Secretary of Labor and Employment shall, in consultation with the other concerned government agencies and relevant stakeholders, by appropriate orders, set and enforce mandatory OSH standards to eliminate or reduce occupational safety and health hazards depending on the number of employees of the establishment, the nature of its business operations, and the risk or hazard involved. (Section 25, Ibid.)

The Secretary shall also institute new, and update existing programs to ensure safe and healthy working conditions in all workplaces especially in hazardous industries such as a mining, fishing, construction, and the maritime industry. (Paragraph 2, Section 25, Ibid.)

e. Employee’s compensation claim

A worker may file claims for compensation benefit arising out of work-related disability or death. Such claims shall be processed independently of the finding of fault, gross negligence or bad faith of the employer in a proceeding instituted for the purpose. (Section 26, Ibid.)

f. Incentives to employers

There shall be an established package of incentives under such riles and regulations as may be promulgated by the DOLE to qualified employers to recognize their efforts toward ensuring compliance with OSH and general labor standards such as OSH training packages, additional protective equipment, technical guidance, recognition awards and other similar incentives. (Section 27, Ibid.)

4. Prohibited Acts

The following are considered as prohibited acts:

1) Willful failure or refusal of an employer, contractor or subcontractor to comply with the required OSH standards or with a compliance order issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or by the Secretary’s authorized representative shall make such employer, contractor or subcontractor liable for an administrative fine not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) per day until the violation is corrected, counted from the date the employer or contractor is notified of the violation or the date the compliance order is duly served on the employer. The amount of fine imposed shall depend on the frequency or gravity of the violation committed or the damage caused: Provide, however, That the maximum amount shall be imposed only when the violation exposes the workers to a risk of death, serious injury or serious illness.

2) An employer, contractor or subcontractor who willfully fails or refuses to comply with the required OSH standards or with a duly issued compliance order, and engages in any of the following acts to aid, conceal or facilitate such noncompliance shall be liable for a maximum of One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) administrative fine separate from the daily fine imposed above:

a) Repeated obstruction, delay or refusal to provide the Secretary of Labor and Employment or any of its authorized representatives access to the covered workplace or refusal to provide or allow access to relevant records and documents or obstruct the conduct of investigation of any fact necessary in determining compliance with OSH standards;

b) Misrepresentation in relation to adherence to OSH standards, knowing such statement, report or record submitted to the DOLE to be false in any material aspect;

c) Making retaliatory measures such as termination of employment, refusal to pay, reducing wages and benefits or in any manner discriminates against any workers who has given information relative to the inspection being conducted. (Section 28, Ibid.)

For the purpose, the Secretary of Labor and Employment, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, shall issue a list of offenses with corresponding reasonable administrative fines depending on the severity, frequency and damage caused without prejudice to the filing of a criminal or a civil casein the regular courts, as the case may be. (Paragraph 2, Section 28, Ibid.)

The fine collected shall be used for the operation of occupational safety and health initiatives, including occupational safety and health training and education and other occupational safety and health programs. (Paragraph 3, Section 28, Ibid.)

References

Republic Act No. 11058, a.k.a. OSH Law

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