Alan Macaraya, DOLE National Capital Region director, said that based on his office’s findings, the Pilipinas KAI Rubber Corp. had violated core labor laws as well as occupational safety and health standards.
A mechanic of the company, Bongbong Danding, was killed while two of his co-workers were injured in the Jan. 22 incident when the door of one of the autoclaves burst open.
An autoclave, or curing chamber, is a highly pressurized container where tires are retreaded. This apparatus is a closed cylindrical sphere of solid metal and is used to cure composites and in the vulcanization of rubber.
Based on the investigation, the failure of an interlock–a mechanical safety device that disables the door-opening mechanism as long as vessel pressure exceeds a conservative value–was the cause of the accident.
“The ring that holds in place the door had been broken, causing the door of the autoclave to burst open. The door and the broken ring were taken by the Bureau of Fire Protection for examination to determine the cause of failure of the interlocking device,” said labor inspector Engineer Bienvenido Reyta in his report.
But he added that “no conclusive findings could be ascertained at this point until the results of the test on the said materials are known.”
Since the company still has two remaining autoclaves or curing chambers similarly built, the DOLE’s labor inspectors recommended the issuance of the stoppage of work order until management has shown proof that it has undertaken measures to ensure the safety of the curing chambers, according to Macaraya.
He also said that during the inspection, management failed to present to the labor inspectors company records such as payrolls, time records, medical reports, safety committee organization, First Aider Certificate, Safety Officers Certificate, Boiler & Pressure Vessel Permit to Operate, Electrical & Mechanical Permit.
Likewise, Macaraya reported that on Jan. 25, 2013, management submitted proof of payment of P171,500 as financial assistance to the family of the deceased worker-victim, but it was after the work stoppage order or suspension of operation was already issued.