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Dole to inspect 2 companies for quake safety protocol violation

/ 05:36 AM April 27, 2019

The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will inspect next week at least two companies that allegedly failed to follow safety protocols after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Luzon on Monday.

Assistant Labor Secretary Benjo Benavidez on Friday said Dole inspectors would verify reports that these companies either did not evacuate their employees or did not conduct a safety check on their buildings before the workers were allowed back in.

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Benavidez declined to name the companies although he said they were reported to have violated safety protocols.

On Tuesday, labor groups slammed the “business as usual attitude” shown by some employers after their workers were not evacuated or “were ordered to return to work” after Monday’s quake.

To prevent retaliation

Though the Dole had not received a formal complaint from labor groups, Benavidez said the agency would initiate the inspection “to shield [workers] from retaliation” should they complain directly to the labor department.

The inspection will involve interviewing workers on their companies’ safety protocols in the workplace, the Dole official said, adding that while employers can make their workers go back to work, this should have been done “following an assessment of the situation.”

Workers at risk

Companies found to have put the lives of their workers at risk may be penalized under Republic Act No. 11058, which strengthens companies’ compliance to occupational safety and health standards.

Former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada on Friday described as “alarming and deplorable” the reports of companies risking the safety of their workers in the workplace.

“During natural calamities, the safety of employees is of foremost concern. Employers, in fact, have the obligation to see to it that their [workers] are kept out of harm’s way,” said the Otso Diretso senatorial candidate.

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TAGS: Assistant Labor Secretary Benjo Benavidez, DOLE, Earthquake, latest news, risk, Safety, Tañada, violation, workers
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