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Puerto Rico Labor secretary urges employers to ensure worker safety

By on September 18, 2017

SAN JUAN – Given the imminent passage of Hurricane María over Puerto Rico, Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra Gutiérrez urged employers to keep workplace conditions safe.

“It is necessary for employers to take into account, when establishing their operating hours, the inclement weather employees will face on the way home. At the Labor Department, we will be vigilant that the conditions of our workers are adequate even in the middle of the emergency. There must be a margin of discretion between the employer’s responsibilities and the rights of employees,” Saavedra Gutiérrez said in Monday’s release.

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The department adds that if anyone feels their employer forced them to work, disregarding their safety, they can file a complaint in the office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Puerto Rico OSHA).

The Labor secretary said that “although the government doesn’t control private companies, it can urge employers to use common sense. Watching over the well-being of the community is not the government’s exclusive purview, the private sector also has its share of responsibility.”

It is expected that on Tuesday evening, the island begins to feel the effects of Hurricane María. Therefore, employers are encouraged to give their workers time to protect their lives and property and complete their preparations.

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