Philippines Philippines enacts Department Order on use and management of asbestos in the workplace

On April 21, 2016, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines enacted Department Order No. 154-2016, which establishes safety and health standards on the use and management of asbestos in the workplace. This Department Order provides guidelines for the development and implementation of safety and health programs on asbestos in accordance with rules including Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) Rule 1071.03 (DOLE’s obligations regarding the review of standards) and DAO 2000-02 (Chemical Control Order for Asbestos). This Department Order will take effect within 15 days from the date of the publication in two newspapers of general circulation.

The main provisions of the Department Order No. 154-2016 are as follows.

 

Scope and Coverage (Section 1):

All activities which expose the workers to asbestos in the workplace are covered. This shall also apply to asbestos-related activities, such as construction, manufacturing, dismantling, disposal, and other industrial activities that are associated with asbestos or asbestos-containing products.

Asbestos Safety and Health Program (Section 3):

The employer shall ensure the development and implementation of an asbestos safety and health program (ASHP) for the workers in compliance with Rule 1045 (Duties of Employers) of OSHS and Annex A (Occupational Diseases) of the Implementing Rules of Presidential Decree No. 626 as amended. The ASHP shall include the following (only the titles are given below).

  1. Hazard Identification/Risk Assessment and Control
  2. Information, Education and Training
  3. Access to Occupational Health/Medical Services
  4. Medical examination shall be provided by the employer upon retirement or transfer to another non-asbestos company of employee without prejudice to PhilHealth, Social Security System (SSS) and Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) benefits.
  5. Post-retirement medical monitoring shall be facilitated by the ECC and Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC).
  6. Reportorial Requirement
  7. Compensation/Rehabilitation

Occupational Exposure Limits (Section 4):

DOLE Memorandum Circular No. 02-1998 classified the manufacture or handling of asbestos and other similar products as hazardous processes. Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of asbestos in the air of the workplace shall not exceed 0.1 f/cm3 in an 8-hour work period.

Penalties (Section 8):

All violations of the provisions of the Guidelines set forth in this Department Order shall be subjected to the applicable penalties provided for in the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, and Presidential Decree No. 626 as amended, as well as other related laws.

Transitory Provisions (Section 9):

All establishments manufacturing asbestos-containing materials and those engaged in the demolition of asbestos-containing materials shall be required to comply with all the requirements of the Guidelines set forth in this Department Order within six months from the effectivity hereof.

 

The Department Order No. 154-2016 can be downloaded from the following URL.
https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/department-order-no-154-2016-safety-and-health-standards-on-the-use-and-management-of-asbestos-in-the-workplace/