Manila, Philippines - Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said that Keppel Subic Shipyard, Inc. (KSSI) has complied with the DOLE’s recommended corrective measures on occupational safety and health in the aftermath of the accident at the Keppel shipyard that claimed the lives of six workers and injured six others, and the DOLE Regional Office No. 3 has lifted the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) it issued on 12 October 2011.
“The DOLE Regional Office No. 3 has lifted its CDO on 24 October after thoroughly evaluating the Action Plan submitted by KSSI and finding sufficient the enhanced activities in the restoration of the stern ramp,” said Baldoz.
“The lifting of the CDO was made considering that Keppel has complied with the conditions set forth in the CDO, which included the start of the accreditation process of its safety practitioners, enhancement of its safety procedures in the restoration of the stern ramp, and submission of proofs of compliance to the testing by an accredited testing organization of Keppel’s heavy equipment, particularly the cranes,” Baldoz added.
Baldoz made the announcement after Keppel President and General Manager Mok Kim Whang and two other company officials paid Secretary Baldoz an official call in the DOLE office in Intramuros yesterday.
During the call, Baldoz emphasized to the Keppel officials that it should not only be Keppel which should comply with health and safety standards, as well as with general labor standards, but also Keppel’s sub-contractors.
“It is equally important that your sub-contractors are compliant, because to us at the DOLE, workers’ safety and health are paramount,” Baldoz told the officials.
Undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte and Occupational Health and Safety Center Executive Director Teresita Cucueco, two of the officials who compose the high level panel which Baldoz immediately constituted to investigate the Keppel accident, were present during the call. Also present were Bureau of Labor Relations Director Rebecca Chato and Nic Bon of the Bureau of Working Conditions.
The labor and employment chief also said that the company has undertaken efforts to provide financial and other form of assistance, such as full hospitalization of the injured and the employment of the victims’ next-of-kin, to all the families of the victims.
She said the Keppel officials did not disclose the sum of the financial assistance, but they promise to inform the DOLE chief soon.
DOLE Region 3 Director Leopoldo de Jesus has reported to the Secretary that Keppel on 20 October presented its Action Plan to DOLE Region 3, entitled, “Procedure for the Restoration of the Stern Ramp”.
“We thoroughly discussed the plan. On 21 October, our team of safety engineers witnessed Keppel’s reorientation of its workers on health and safety at the plant, the details of the restoration procedures, and the risk assessment which Keppel incorporated along the process,” de Jesus reported.
He also said the regional office held another meeting with Keppel on 24 October to address other safety concerns according to the recommendations of the DOLE investigating panel.
According to de Jesus, the regional office and the company agreed to constitute a joint monitoring team from the Occupational Safety and Health Center, Bureau of Working conditions, and DOLE Regional Office No. 3 that will observe Keppel’s compliance with its safety program as discussed.
The monitoring, said Director de Jesus, is continuing to ensure the safety of the shipyard’s workers.
“In fact, on 26 October, a combine team from the OSHC and the regional office went to the shipyard to monitor work activities. We will be doing this safety measure to ensure strict compliance by the company to its safety program,” he said.