April 18, 2024

One of the important requirements for the approval of a property owner’s building permit is the Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP) document guided by the implementing rules and regulations of the Department of Labor and Employment along with the memorandum of agreement of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The document ensures the protection and welfare of construction workers and people within or around the construction site.
Recently, the DOLE-Cordillera issued a work stoppage order (WSO) to a construction project in Baguio City, pending the occupational and health standards investigation after the death of one of the workers during an excavation at the project site when the riprap collapsed. DOLE-Cordillera Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra issued the order after labor inspectors submitted the Occupational Safety and Health Investigation (OSHI) report.
Based on the report, the construction firm and the project owner violated several provisions of Republic Act11058 or an “Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” and DOLE Department Order (DO) 198, s. 2018 or the “Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11058.”
The report found the construction firm has no safety officer and first aider,has not provided personal protective equipment like safety shoes and skull guard to its workers, no safety signages, no CSHP, no Occupational Safety and Health Program (OSHP), and no Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board license.
The construction firm and the project owner were fined P100,000 for the death of the employee and were ordered to observe the OSH standards and provisions of DO 198-18 after submitting proofs of correction of the OSH violations.
Workers are entitled to their wages corresponding to the period of work stoppage or suspension if the imminent danger occurs as a result of the employer’s violation or fault. DO 198-18 includes a presumption the employer is at fault if the WSO was issued secondary to an imminent danger situation.
Imminent danger is defined as “a situation caused by a condition or practice in any place of employment that could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm.”
If the DOLE determines an imminent danger situation exists in the workplace that may result in death or illness, workers have to right to refuse work pursuant to RA 11058.
Workers may report directly to the DOLE or other competent government agencies accidents, dangerous occurrences, and hazards in the workplace. As a preventive measure, Section 6 of DO 198-18 grants the safety officer the discretion to implement work stoppage or suspension of operations in cases of imminent danger.
Section 22 of RA 11058 or the Visitorial Power of the DOLE secretary states that pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code and other applicable laws, the secretary or authorized representatives shall enforce the OSH standards in all establishments and conduct, together with representatives from the labor and the employer sectors, an annual spot audit on compliance with OSH standards.
The secretary or representatives can enter workplaces 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 law.
No person or entity shall obstruct, impede, delay, or otherwise render ineffective the orders of the secretary or authorized representatives issued pursuant to the authority granted under Article 128 of the Labor Code and no lower court or entity shall issue temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order or otherwise assume jurisdiction over any case involving the enforcement orders.
For more information on RA 11058 and DO 198-18, visit www.dole.gov.ph