Press Release
July 1, 2020

Villanueva asks DOLE to heighten labor inspections to ensure minimum health standards observed at workplaces

Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to intensify the conduct of inspections of workplaces around the country to ensure that occupational safety and health (OSH) standards are being followed strictly by firms as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Intensified inspection for OSH compliance can help in controlling the increasing cases of infection and protect the workers in industries allowed to resume operations from serious risk of contracting the disease as they move in and out of their homes, communities and their workplaces, the senator pointed out.

"Disease surveillance remains the only option we have so far to prevent the spread of the virus, but given the upward trend of cases, it shows we are failing to do contact tracing efficiently," said Villanueva. "At the very least, DOLE has to monitor the compliance of workplaces on OSH regulations in light of the pandemic, especially whether they practice social distancing and other safety measures, to minimize the risk of workers being infected."

"We ask DOLE to do its part in controlling the spread of COVID-19 at the workplaces by strict monitoring of establishments' compliance with the OSH Law or RA 11058 and the COVID-19 workplace protocol. All agencies must contribute to instituting infection control as our public healthcare will not be able to handle the surge in patients," added the lawmaker, who authored the country's occupational safety and health measure.

Aside from the provision of personal protective equipment like face masks and the availability of soap, hygienic washing spaces, and alcohol or sanitizers, the government issued limitations on the deployment of manpower in industries and sectors allowed to be reopened.

Depending on the industry or sector, employers can only allow in its workplaces 50 percent of its manpower at most, and implement alternative work arrangements in the interim such as telecommuting, among others.

In its guidelines issued in May, DOLE enumerated the obligations of employers and workers to heighten the disease surveillance efforts and minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in workplaces.

Villanueva also encouraged innovations in the implementation of work-from-home arrangements for manufacturing firms, similar to cottage industry concept for those that can be produced at home or at the barangay hall, or other schemes that may be appropriate to mitigate the risk of workers getting infected and ensure the continued operations of their firms.

"With the help of DOLE, we hope that our employers consider adopting work-from-home policies in their organizations given the new normal. Such work arrangement helps maintain productivity while reducing the likelihood of our workers from getting sick of COVID-19," said Villanueva, who authored the work-from-home law or Republic Act No. 11165.

Formally called the Telecommuting law, Republic Act No. 11165 encourages employers to adopt a work-from-home arrangement with its employees under terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by both parties. Workers under a work-from-home arrangement must be treated in the same manner as workers who are physically present in their workplace, the law states.

News Latest News Feed