The Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation Philippines (HHIC-Phils) or Hanjin shipyard, one of the biggest shipbuilding companies in the world and employing 23,000 workers – the largest single employer in the Philippines – are now one of the greatest violators of workers’ rights in the Philippines. It had committed over few years of operation for about 40 deaths and an injury toll of 5,000 cases because of poor health and safety standards of the management.
Ship fabricator Alexander Buya-Ao fell off on a 32-feet platform to a concrete floor causing him to be in comma and confined in the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital at Olongapo City on December 12, 2011. Two (2) weeks after, at the first hours of January 1, 2012 he died, becoming the first fatality in 2012.
Two months after, Rowel Castroverde Barrera an outfitter will be caught and hit on the head when an array of metal frames collapsed. It caused a lacerated wound in his occipital area and abrasion in frontal area or forehead. After a one week confinement in the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital he died too.
On February 28, 2012 at 4:25 in the afternoon Jonathan Corpuz a stiffener in assembly shop B was fitting up a 75 Kilogram metal stiffener; when suddenly the metal stiffener fall and lacerated his left foot.
Another worker of the outfitting part sustained a fractured left arm on March 6 from a fall when he tripped on a cable wire while walking towards his work area. Another sustained deep lacerations and contusion on his forehead on March 10, 2012 when he hit into a pile of metal pipes while approaching a dimly lighted passage towards the canteen. The next day, another worker’s finger was crushed by a moving metal plate.
On March 16, 2012, outfitter Arestio Adrano got a damage right hand finger and lacerated wound out of a manual work of hammering heavy metal sheet into shape. The same happened to Jay Mark Aguirre on March 23, 2012.
A leakage on the cutting torch (a machine that emits oxy-ethylene to cut metal sheets) hose caused for the second degree burns in the right arm and ear of worker Ronnie Pantuja on March 16, 2012, 4:40 p.m. at the erection area.
March 21. two worker lost there fingers too from different accidents while another worker carrying a welding machine and a 15 kilograms welding hose (welders used to have an assistant) was hit on the foot by the bulk of untied wire causing for a contusion on his left foot.
March 22. a worker sustained lacerated wounds and a fracture in his left shoulder after a 10 kilo metal U-piece fell off a platform. On the same day Jay Ar Edrosolan of the special assembly unit was accidentally hit by a sledge hammer when a pipe slid off.
April 2, 2012. Although not a trained electrician, painter Elmer Moredo was made to do maintenance job. When a circuit breaker malfunctioned, he sustained burns in his hands due to a 440 volts electrocution.
Brian Aliga, a welder in the erection department sustained burns on some parts of his body after an explosion when the welding tailings burnt his welding machine hose on April 11, 2012.
Meanwhile, another victim of physical assault surmised. Korean superior Kim Heon Jeon hit the victim in the back side of his ear by a piece of metal scrap. He was coercively made to sign a paper in the human resource office to accept Php 10, 000 for his medication while on the other hand refrained from seeking legal remedy.
Additionally, a worker claiming for SSS benefit sick leave pay got a check from the claims and benefits department of the Hanjin Company a meager Php 105.00. He was told to in cash the money by the head Irene Lorenzo when he refused to because of the impracticality the manager insisted that he return the check or he be suspended or terminated for not obeying company policy.
If one will observe the incident reports written by the safety officers who these incident reports, one will notice something odd on the way it has been drafted. In almost all of the reports, workers were accused of mental problems for lacking knowledge on safety standards while it doesn’t admit its role in propagating the consciousness on safety as well as providing the workers safety gadgets, enough safety officers (as of current there are 80 safety officers) and building a hospital with full time doctor in the 230 hectares facility which is 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital.
On the other hand, the government agencies that are supposed to oversee the safety and welfare of these workers such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) seems to be apathetic to the continuous occurrence of accidents at the shipyard.
As the management continue to deny its responsibility to the 23,000 Filipino workers more and more lives are put into the line. The battle for a safe and humane working conditions of the workers henceforth, continues. As youth and future labor force, we have to struggle hand in hand with the workers to change their inhumane kind of working condition.
We have nothing to lose but our chains! ####
Documented by: The Friends of Hanjin Workers where YND is an active member.