Labour Inspection Structure and Organization

Name of institution that manages work issues

The Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) within the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) is responsible for the formulation of policies and laws relating to working conditions and the working environment, with the aim of ensuring compliance with labour standards. (,

Department(s) responsible for Labour Inspection

The Bureau of Working Conditions is the focal point of the Philippines labour inspection system and is responsible for the formulation of policies and laws relating to working conditions and the working environment, but it does not undertake actual inspection visits to workplaces to check on compliance. Inspectors located in 16 regional offices throughout the country undertake such visits.

The Labour Code establishes that DOLE shall be solely responsible for the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health laws, regulations and standards in all establishments and workplaces wherever they may be located. However, chartered cities may be allowed to conduct industrial safety inspections of establishments within their respective jurisdictions where they have adequate facilities and competent personnel as determined by DOLE and subject to national standards established by the latter.

Law that covers organization and functional composition

  • The Labor Code (Presidential Decree No. 442 of 1974)

Scope of labour inspection

Labour inspectors are empowered to visit any place where work is undertaken, including those in the informal economy, for safety and health inspection, but regarding the inspection of working conditions some workplaces fall outside their coverage. The Labour Standards Enforcement Framework (LSEF) covers general labour standards, including occupational safety and health, and technical safety standards. Labour inspectors are responsible for overseeing general labour standards including wages and hours of work, other welfare and social security benefits and general safety and health, which refer to the work environment such as lighting, ventilation and other conditions. They also include compliance with the Anti Sexual Harassment Law and policies and programmes for HIV/AIDS prevention and drug-free workplaces.

Labour inspectors are not involved in the resolution and settlement of labour disputes, however, they have an important role to play in dispute prevention over existing rights.

Technical inspectors undertake inspection of mechanical and electrical installations.

Local divisions

There are 16 regional offices throughout the country that undertake labour inspection visits.

Programming and communication

Every regional office is required to submit to the BWC a Labour Standards Enforcement Programme detailing the work to be undertaken by that office with regard to the components of the LSEF. This needs to be submitted by January 15th of each year. No inspection work can take place in a region until this programme has been endorsed by the Bureau. The BWC receives information on inspection activities on a quarterly basis from all regional offices, and this is used to provide general information on inspection activities for inclusion in the DOLE Annual Report. The BWC also provides technical supervision and assistance to the Regional Offices of DOLE.

Human Resources and career development

Permanency of inspectors

Labour inspectors are civil servants protected against dismissal.

Selection process

Inspectors are selected and appointed by regional offices. Eligibility for appointment as a labour inspector requires that candidate must first be a Labour and Employment Officer (at least level 3) and, secondly, pass the Basic Training Course for labour inspectors.

Background required

All inspectors (who undertake inspection of working conditions, as well as basic aspects of safety and health) have at least a bachelor’s degree and have participated in, and passed, an induction-training course that covers both labour standards and occupational safety and health. Technical inspectors are qualified engineers.

Visits and functions

Types of visits

Inspection visits are of two types, namely, general inspection and technical inspection. General inspection is of an integrated nature where the one inspector checks on working conditions as well as basic safety and health matters. Technical inspection concentrates particularly on electrical and mechanical installations. In the vast majority of cases, technical and general inspectors undertake inspection visits separately from each other. In special circumstances, however, they may undertake joint inspections.

There are five different types of general inspection visits including the following: (1) routine or regular inspections (visits to establishments that are scheduled as part of a programme of yearly inspection visits); (2) Complaint/referral inspection (conducted in response to a notice filed by an employee concerning a hazard or labour law violation, or referred by the media or any other source); (3) Imminent danger investigations (conducted based on any condition or practice in any workplace where a specific danger could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm, and where enforcement of standards can eliminate the danger; (4) Accident investigations (conducted in the event of work related accidents resulting in injury or death), and (5) Spot-checks (inspections recommended by a Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Team related to the self-assessment scheme and inspection of establishments employing fewer than 10 employees and registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE’s) to verify commitments related to the Training and Advisory Visits (TAVs) under the LSEF).

Role of preventive measures

The Philippines has introduced a self-reporting mechanism within the national inspection system which it promotes among establishments that are seen as low risk and suitable for enforcement approaches other than traditional inspection visits.

Self-reporting was introduced to build a culture of voluntary compliance with labour standards and encourage. This mechanism encourages the proactive enterprise compliance with labour standards through any one of the following three methods: (1) Self-Assessment: for establishments with more than 200 workers and those with certified collective bargaining agreements regardless of the number of workers. Participation is voluntary and those establishments who choose not to participate are subject to routine inspection visits. Participating workplaces are provided with a checklist that is to be completed through consultations between managers and worker representatives. The self-reporting checklist is then signed by a representative of the employer and workers, and forwarded to the Regional Office; (2) Regular inspection for establishments employing 10-199 workers; and, (3) Training and Advisory Visits (TAV) for establishments employing 1-9 workers and those registered as Barangay Micro Business Enterprises regardless of the number of workers. The Regional Offices assist small and micro establishments map out an improvement programme geared at increasing productivity to facilitate compliance with labour standards.

Planning of labour inspection visits

Regional inspection offices and inspectors are required to carry out 6 inspection visits per week over 10 months of the year, resulting in approximately 250 visits per inspector per year.

Registries and reporting of accidents/diseases at work

Regional offices are required to develop and keep up to date a Master List of Establishments, Workplaces and Worksites. This list shows the number of employees, and whether the workplace is non-hazardous, hazardous, or very hazardous. Thus, for each entry on the Master List there is an establishment name, a geographic code, industrial classification, a hazard rating, and the number of employees.

Sanction and administrative processes

Labour inspectors have the power to issue compliance orders to give effect to the labour standards based on their findings in the course of inspection.

ILO Conventions ratified

The Philippines has not ratified either ILO Convention No. 81 or No. 129.