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KMU: Probe drowning of 4 workers in septic tank

- Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) yesterday sought a deeper investigation into the death of four workers who reportedly drowned in a Quezon City mall’s septic tank.

At the same time, KMU called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ensure the implementation of regulations protecting workers from work-related accidents.

“How many more workers will have to die before workers’ occupational health and safety is seriously addressed?” KMU vice chairman Lito Ustarez asked.

Based on initial investigation, the workers were on a break from cleaning the septic tank at the Ali Mall when one of them fell while removing the clogged dirt.

The three others tried to rescue their co-worker but the water level in the tank suddenly rose, causing the victims to drown.

Ustarez said it was very clear that the management of the mall violated workers’ occupational health and safety regulations.

“We appeal to the labor department to investigate the possible violations of the employers of the four victims and mete out severe punishments,” he added.

Ustarez said that under the law, before a worker or group of workers enters a confined or enclosed space and before any work is commenced, the area shall be checked visually to ensure that the water level is below 15 centimeters and if water is present, a dry wooden platform shall be available for use.

The law also requires employers to provide approved types of breathing apparatus and other personal protective equipment for the workers.

But based on the reports, Ustarez said, the workers were not wearing any safety gear while cleaning the septic tank.

ALI MALL DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT KILUSANG MAYO UNO KMU LABOR LITO USTAREZ MALL QUEZON CITY TANK USTAREZ WORKERS
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