Lead man found guilty over worker’s exposure to chemicals
m13chemicals (DAVAO CITY) – The Municipal Trial Court in Cities found a pineapple processing plant lead man guilty for reckless imprudence resulting to serious physical injury in a case of workers’
occupational safety in agricultural companies using chemicals.
In his decision ordered on March 12, MTCC Judge Silverio Mandalope found Dodong Ebaya, an employee of the Davao Agri-Ventures Corporation (DAVCO), guilty over a worker’s complaint that he failed to give workers safety instructions and personal protective equipment (PPE) sometime in 2004.
Jeffrey Abella, 26, complainant, originally accused Ebaya and 12 DAVCO officers, including members of the board of the Floirendo family-owned company, of negligence and violation of Presidential Decree No. 1144 on fertilizers and pesticides use.
The City Prosecution Office indicted Ebaya in September but dismissed there is evidence the company violated laws on the use of chemicals.
Abella was diagnosed of having chemical pneumonitis, an inflammation of the lungs caused by chemicals, at the Davao Medical Center in 2004. He has since experienced seizures after the incident.
Abella and three other workers worked under Ebaya at DAVCO’s dipping section by that time.
According to the joint resolution signed by Prosecutor Victoriano Bello on Sept. 12, Ebaya ordered Abella’s group, newcomers in the section, to work without providing them with personal protective equipment.
Workers dip pineapple crowns in a chemical solution in the dipping section. In his affidavit, Abella cited that other workers wore goggles, boots, aprons, and gloves.
After a few hours in the job, Abella complained of chest pains and eventually brought to the hospital for medication. His affidavit showed one of the three companions to have vomited.
His family has complained against neglect by the company even if DAVCO executives claimed they have provided financial report to their former employee who has been reported of experiencing subsequent seizures.
Abella in his affidavit also said he was not aware that the chemicals were very dangerous. He claimed he asked for protective gear but was told “they are of good built anyway.”(Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)