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Keppel liable for accident but it is up to workers to file claims – DOLE

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keppel liable for accident but it is up to workers to file claims – DOLE

Labor Undersecretary Lourdes Transmonte said the DOLE cannot file a case against Keppel even if its investigation showed that it is liable for the accident.
Related Story: Govt policies blamed for ‘accidents waiting to happen’ in workplaces
MANILA – There had been the usual “toolbox meeting” in Keppel Subic Shipyard on the morning of Oct 7, before some 230 workers proceeded to continue work on the repair and anti-pirate retrofitting of a 22,650-ton cargo container ship called MV Tombarra.

It is just one ship to work on, and Keppel Subic Shipyard has on average a 1,300 Filipino workforce, according to Keppel Subic Shipyard president Mok Kim Whang. More than two-thirds of these workers are contractual, based on the presentation of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
There had also been a health and safety inspection of Keppel Subic Shipyard last August, according to PEZA in Subic. The findings had been okay, it said.

Keppel and Hanjin are two of the big-ticket shipbuilding and repair investors that took over the facilities in Subic, Zambales after these were converted from being US military bases before. It involved billion-dollar investments and employs thousands of workers. But it has also repeatedly featured in accidents that resulted in deaths and injuries to its workers.

File picture of Keppel workers at work on MV Tombarra’s cargo loading ramp before the Oct 7 accident. (Photo courtesy of DOLE / bulatlat.com)
From the investigations of the Metal Workers’ Alliance of the Philippines (MWAP), Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (IOHSAD), Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), here is what happened on Oct 7:
- The workers were repairing a ramp used by the cargo ship to load and unload cars. (Ramp weighed 166.4 tons according to Zambales police report, 250 tons according to the workers and witnesses interviewed by MWAP.)

- The said ramp was held in place by steel cables more than an inch in diameter and tied to a part of the ship, which was dry-docked while being repaired; the ramp is several stories high from the ground where other workers were busy. On the other end of the ramp, only one steel post was supporting it.

- The steel cables supporting the ramp from one end snapped, resulting in what sounded like an explosion. But the single steel post supporting the ramp on the other end failed to support the whole weight of the ramp being repaired and retrofitted with anti-pirate plate.

Sample of frayed steel cables that brought about the fall of tons of steel tower post and ramp. (Photo courtesy of DOLE / bulatlat.com)
- Unbalanced, the steel post teetered and fell, bringing the ramp down with it, and an anti-pirate plate to be fitted on it.

(The Zambales police reported that a “crane” used to carry the anti-pirate plate fell on the cables, causing it to snap. But Fernando San Juan, witness and father of Mark San Juan who died during the accident said the “crane” was not yet near the ramp area when the cables snapped. The police attributed their “error” to the lack of engineering experts among them and to the fact that many things at the site had been shifted around and “tampered with” before they arrived. Senator Estrada told the police to interview the witnesses.)

- The steel post crushed the workers who were working under the ramp. Other workers who were working on the ramp slid and fell..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/20/keppel-liable-for-accident-but-it-is-up-to-workers-to-file-claims-%e2%80%93-dole/

1 comment

Jesusa Bernardo said...

may contractual workers sa high-risk construction job???

"Worse, according to the KMU, some of the victims are contractual workers who receive only P235 to P255 ($5.40 to $ 5.86) per day, when the minimum wage in Central Luzon is pegged at P302 ($6.94) pus P28-Cost of living allowance ($0.64)."

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