by Malaya, Mar 26, 2018
THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday rejected calls to criminalize employers’ failure to comply with occupational safety and health standards (OSHS).
In an interview, Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras said the DOLE is “not inclined to provide criminal sanctions” to employers who do not follow the rules on ensuring safety in the workplace because it may lead to the closure of companies.
“Factories may close if the penalties are too harsh. If you will have the owners jailed, it might lead to massive job loss. That is the rationale there,” Paras said.
He said increasing administrative penalties is a better alternative because it will improve workers’ protection without resulting in job loss.
“For example, if DOLE found a non-compliant company, we can fine them from P10,000 to P100,000. And it will be for every day until they are able to rectify the deficiency of their factory or their workplace,” said Paras.
Currently, there are two pending OSHS bills in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Of the two, only the House version provides criminal liability for employers but only if a worker is injured or killed in the workplace.
Labor groups have been pushing for the criminalization of OSHS violations to ensure strict compliance from employers.