Senator Joel Villanueva has asked the Department of Labor and Employment to intensify its labor inspections at workplaces following reports that 327 workers got infected with COVID-19 in a construction site in Taguig.
“Having 327 workers testing positive at a single workplace should already serve as a wake-up call for DOLE,” said Villaneuva.
He said this incident clearly showed how the transmission of the disease could spread to a lot of people if prevention and control measures were lax.
Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development, said DOLE must continue its labor inspections in workplaces to ensure compliance to occupational safety and health protocols and help control the spread of COVID-19.
He also reminded employers to adhere to the interim guidelines issued by the DOLE and the
Department of Trade and Industry in May on the prevention of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The guidelines, which was released in May, mandated safety officers to “monitor COVID-19 prevention and control measures” in the workplace, according to Villanueva.
Safety officers at workplaces should not hesitate to issue a work stoppage order as soon as a worker has been conclusively determined to be infected by COVID-19 to immediately prevent the spread of the disease to other workers, Villanueva pointed out.
Republic Act No. 11058, or the OSH law, empowers safety officers to issue a work stoppage order as soon as it becomes unsafe for workers in the workplace, without fear of reprisal from management.
“We commend the local government of Taguig for taking the lead in testing and tracing the contacts of the workers, but clearly there has to be more effort coming from the safety personnel of the workplace,” added the lawmaker.
Authorities said the construction site was placed under quarantine, while contact tracing, further testing and treatment went underway.