DOLE to inspect quake-hit firms, may order work stoppage

Magsaysay municipal hall in Davao del Sur (File Photo)

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) might issue work stoppage orders to businesses that fail in the occupational health and safety (OSH) inspections to be conducted in earthquake-hit structures in Mindanao.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the department may issue either temporary or full work stoppage orders.

“The teams shall do inspection, assessment, and validation of all affected structures in the area. They then submit a recommendation to the regional director, who will then issue a temporary or full work stoppage order, if needed," Bello said.

Bello said the OSH inspections shall be done by the composite teams created by the DOLE regional directors in Davao and Soccsksargen regions.

DOLE inspectors will be joined by structural, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers who will check the structural integrity of affected buildings.

"We directed them to get approval from the local executives and inform them that there may a temporary work stoppage as a result of the inspection. The members of the team will be deputized to have legal personalities," Bello said.

For his part, Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) Executive Director Noel Binag reminded teams that the OSH inspections shall be done using the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Control (HIRAC) method.

“Just to inform everyone, this is an OSH investigation. We have Department Order 183 to follow, where all procedural guidelines on OSH investigation are stated," said Binag.

The Soccsksargen, Davao, and Northern Mindanao regions as well as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have been rocked by a series of earthquakes since October 16, 2019.

Major earthquakes occurred on October 16 (magnitude 6.3), October 29 (magnitude 6.6), and October 31 (magnitude 6.5).

All quakes were centered near Tulunan, tectonic and shallow, causing major damage to several structures. More than 20 were killed, authorities reported. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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