By Samuel P. Medenilla, November 21 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Business World

The government may finally start implementing Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) law, or Republic Act (RA) 11058 next month, as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now rushing to complete its IRR.

During 16th National Occupational Safety and Health (NOSH) Congress on Tuesday in Pasay City, Sen. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva announced that the DOLE has committed to present the IRR in December.

“We are just waiting for the IRR from the DOLE before their anniversary, which is next month. This is a welcome development,” Villanueva told reporters in an ambush interview.

Labor  Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III confirmed they will come out with the guidelines “soon” to boost the government’s campaign against OSHS violations.

While they still prefer companies to address their deficiencies, he said the new law will enable to provide stronger sanctions for consistent OSHS violators.

“The penalties [for erring companies] are no joke since they will not only be fined but also face imprisonment,” Bello said.

The labor chief admitted enforcing OSH nationwide remains a “daunting challenge” for the DOLE due to the shortage of labor inspectors.

“There are almost a million establishments and we only have around 1,000 inspectors,” Bello said.

To address this, the DOLE unveiled yesterday its “Be an OSH Champion: Vision 1 Million,” where they will tap thousands of safety and health experts to mainstream OSH in workplaces.

“That is why we need this group so inspection of business establishments to see if they are compliant [with the OSHS law],” Bello said.

Despite its more stringent regulations, labor groups said RA 11058 still has “ambiguous” provisions that must be ironed out in its IRR.

A similar concern was separately aired by employer groups. Employers want the OSHS law to have clear rules of engagement, as they worried that labor inspectors might get “overzealous” in finding fault in establishments.