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AFTER VALENZUELA FACTORY FIRE:

Congress urged to put ‘more teeth’ in occupational safety regulations

/ 01:05 PM May 17, 2015
Valenzuela Factory Fire

Firetrucks can still be seen inside Kentex Manufacturing Inc at Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City.
INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

Following the deadly fire at a slippers factory in Valenzuela City last Wednesday which claimed 72 lives, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is asking Congress to amend the existing regulations concerning occupational safety and health which do not contain a provision on criminal penalties.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Labor secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said that there is a need to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Standards promulgated in 1978 to make it attuned to the changing workplace environment.

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“We urge our lawmakers to seriously see our plea for the enactment of these measures in a positive light, and that is, for the ultimate welfare and protection of our workers and the delivery of labor justice by punishing heartless employers,” Baldoz said.

Aside from amending the 1978 Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Baldoz also asked Congress to fast-track the passage of three proposed laws concerning occupational safety and health which are: House Bill (HB) No. 2226, or An Act Criminalizing Non-Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards; Senate Bill (SB) No. 1368, or An Act to Govern Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry; and HB No. 2471, or An Act to Provide for Uniform Warnings on Personal Protective Equipment for Occupational Use.

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Baldoz said that Dole will convene a special meeting with the officials of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation and its subcontractor, CJC Manpower Services, on Monday.

Initial results of the labor department’s investigation revealed that Kentex Manufacturing Corporation allegedly violated labor laws and tapped CJC Manpower Services as an “illegal subcontractor.”

The labor department said that it will help the families of those killed in the fire in claiming their benefits such as loss of income benefit, funeral and death benefits while those injured can claim medical reimbursements.

Meanwhile, Malacanang on Sunday said that it convened an interagency task force composed of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Justice National Bureau of Investigation, DOLE and the Department of Health to investigate the deadly fire and to “determine security and safety lapses and to recommend the filing of appropriate charges based on its findings.” DPL

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TAGS: Accident, Department of Labor and Employment, Fire, Kentex Manufacturing, Occupational Safety, Rosalinda Baldoz, valenzuela
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