Labor department lacks inspectors to ensure occupational safety


BAGUIO CITY — The chief of the labor department in the Cordillera admitted the agency lacked inspectors to ensure the health and safety of workers.

Regional Director Exequiel Guzman admits that they have only 15 to 16 labor inspectors all over the region that are supposed to be ensuring that labor laws like the occupational health and safety standards are being followed by companies and employers.

He said in Baguio City alone, there are around 20, 000 establishments or businesses that need to be inspected on their compliance.

Guzman disclosed common violations on occupational safety standards include the lack of personal protective equipment to construction workers like hard caps, harness among others; and the improper or non-implementation at all of fire safety measures among the manufacturing industry wherein he said that some if not many have no fire extinguishers or if they have, are expired.

The DOLE Cordillera chief said they are doing measures to adapt with their lack of labor inspectors by tapping the help of other agencies like the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in ensuring fire safety in the workplaces and the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in monitoring safety in government-funded constructions.

Another method the agency employs is the promotion of awareness on the implementation or practice of safety, health and environment programs. One such activity is the holding of the Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan (GKK), a biennial award given by the DOLE to companies and individuals with outstanding occupational safety and health practices, innovations and contributions.

This according to Deputy Executive Director Jose Maria Batino of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), which is under DOLE, is a part of the bid to achieve productivity and zero accident in their workplaces.

She said one of the most common violation they observed from different work places in the country is the absence or lack of first aider that can immediately respond to accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Batino said there are only around 800 labor inspectors against over 900, 000 workplaces all over the country. #