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Owner of barge violated several provision in Rule 1120 of the Occupational Health and Safety Standards

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The non-adherence to Rule 1120 of the Philippine Occupational Health and Safety Standards by the owner of the barge caused the death of 3 workers and the injuring of 3 more.

This was the initial reaction of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) on based on news report that on February 16, 2010, workers cleaning a barge in Bauan, Batangas suffocated from lack of breathable air.

“Initial news report indicates Health and Safety Standards on Hazardous Work Places or Rule 1120 was violated leading to the death of Charmeil Allego, 23 years old, Junnel Almohera, and one person known only as Waray. The workers died while working inside a barge,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of IOHSAD.

According to Colina, the following provisions of Rule 1120 states that “...[b]efore a worker or group of workers enter any confined or enclosed space and before any work is commenced, the air shall be checked for explosive gases, fumes and vapors; for oxygen content; for carbon monoxide. If any of the above is present over normal levels, the area shall not be entered until ventilation by blower is effected.”

Colina further clarified that the workers should be provided proper breathing apparatus before working on confined spaces. “During the whole work process, there must also be a designated watchman who is familiar with the work and the work environment. That person must also be in regular contact with the workers and must be provided with proper breathing apparatus in case of an emergency.”