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Shut down Keppel Shipyard

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The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (www.IOHSAD.org) is asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to issue a Stoppage of Operation order at the Subic Keppel Shipyard Incorporated located in Subic, Zambales pending a comprehensive inspection of the safety practices of the ship builder.

On Friday, October 7, 2011 at around 1030 am, a steel ramp being erected at the said shipyard collapsed on workers, immediately killing 5 and injuring 7 more. According to various news reports, the fatalities who sustained multiple crush injuries were Jay Lord Reyes, Glen Miranda, Mark San Juan, Chrisander Papna and Ronald Lara. Among the injured were Alvin Peñeverde, Albert Ricaña, Belmore dela Vega, Eleazar Elopre, Bernardo Asinas with the names of two others still being determined.

“Rule 1012.02 or Abatement of Imminent Danger of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) allows the DoLE to shut down the operation, require from the company specific measures to correct dangerous practices and/or maintain a stoppage of operation if the recommendations are not adhered to by the erring company,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of the IOHSAD, a non-profit, non-governmental health and safety organization in the Philippines.

According to Colina, a comprehensive investigation of the incident is the least the DoLE can do to avert possible repeat of the appalling accident. “Shut down the operation, investigate and prosecute those responsible for the accidents. During the shutdown, all the workers must receive full wages.”

“Unless someone gets punished, the names Jay, Glen, Mark, Chrisander and Ronald will just be added to the growing statistics of workplace deaths. Impunity continues inside workplaces wherein safety violators continue to operate, placing the lives of our workers at great risk,” continued Colina.

Colina reiterated their call for the revocation of DoLE Department Order 57-04 which allows workplaces with more then 200 employees to conduct self-assessment on their labor and safety practices. “Self-assessment has been proven ineffective in saving the lives of workers, which was underscored by the deaths of 10 workers at the Eton Residences in Makati last January 27, 2011. Only after the accident did the DoLE learn that various deadly safety violations of the work site.”

“Government must conduct mandatory inspection for all workplaces at least once a year. For hazardous workplaces, like shipyard and constructions sites, inspection should be done every 6 months,” ended Colina.