29 June 2008

Philippine Labor Department clears Hanjin

The Department of Labor and Employment says Hanjin Heavy Industries Construction Co. Ltd. was not to blame for a shipyard accident last week.

An investigation undertaken by DoLE showed that the accident was a case of “force majeure” or circumstances beyond the control of the company. The results of the investigation were made known Friday. Hanjin vowed to strictly implement DoLE recommendations to achieve a “zero accident” status in its shipyard.

In a report to Region III Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra on June 22, the DoLE investigating team headed by Alvin M. Villamor, DoLE assistant regional director for Central Luzon, said “strong gusty winds caused the steel forms to fall over the workers who went there to shield themselves from the rain.”

”This initial inspection showed that there were no other factors that caused the collapse of the said forms other than the strong winds,” the report added.

The DoLE team conducted the investigation within 24 hours of the June 20 accident that killed Mario Atrero, 52, an employee of HHIC, and injured four other workers identified as Joel Alido, Darvin Silva, David Alcayaga, and Leody Abad.

Meanwhile, the Hanjin management welcomed the DoLE findings and announced that it will “strictly take action” on DoLE’s safety recommendations. Jeong Sup Shim, president of HHIC-Phil Inc., said the company is committed to strictly observe and strengthen its declared occupational safety and health policy, reinforce the safety monitoring of subcontractors and put emphasis on the orientation of workers on personal safety precaution. (SBMA Corporate Communications)