Cavite fire: HTI violated safety standards

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday found the House Technology Industries liable for multiple violations of the general labor standards and safety regulations when a fire gutted the electronics firm last February.

Based on the final result of the probe on the firm located at the Cavite Economic Zone, Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said that HTI and its contractors violated occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) including the rules on training of personnel on the occupational health and environment control, and in the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and devices.

We should revoke the certificates of compliance with the general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards of the HTI and its contractors because of the violations noted during the investigations, said Maglunsod, who heads the DOLE investigation team.

With a total manpower of 7,062 in the Cavite Economic Zone, HTI has only 12 safety officers, which is inadequate and non-complaint with OSHS, as 15 safety officers are required for 7,000 employees.

HTI also has no resting area for its workers and failed to provide appropriate PPE to workers handling sharp materials and to those exposed to hazardous fumes.

Aside from the violations on OSH, HTI’s contractors were also found out committing illegal wage deduction to some of its workers and failed to pay workers’ service incentive leave.

DOLE investigation team found that HTI contractors committed illegal wage deduction to some of their employees at the time of the fire incident, Maglunsod said.

The undersecretary said that HTI and its contractors should immediately pay the noted illegal deductions amounting to P10,814,427 million, as well as the workers’ service incentive leave worth P15,652,651 million.

The investigation team also recommended for the review of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) law and its implementing rules and regulations to ensure strict enforcement and compliance with the general labor standards, occupational safety and health standards, and other laws and social legislations to avoid similar incidents in the future.

To date, the Japanese-owned firm is still operational until the possible cancellation of its certificate of compliance, which will be released by the DOLE Regional Office No. IV-A to prevent displacement of some of its workers.

Source: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT REPUBLIC OF PHILIPPINES

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