MOVING to provide mandatory insurance for powerline workers, Senator Francis G. Escudero asked Congress to pass an enabling law mandating insurance coverage and other benefits for all linemen in the power utility sector.
In filing Senate Bill (SB) 2303, Escudero said the measure was intended to “ensure that the well-being of thousands of lineworkers, as well as that of their families are protected.”
“The continuous and reliable supply of electricity—crucial in sustaining our economic growth and maintaining our way of life—rests on the hands of lineworkers who construct, install, maintain, rehabilitate and repair our electrical transmission and distribution systems,” the senator added.
Escudero reminds that “while they perform both critical and dangerous work, a number of them do so bereft of any form of coverage against death, accidents, illness and other fortuitous events that could be sustained in the line of duty.”
“As such, SB 2303 seeks to mandate private distribution utilities, electric cooperatives and transmission or grid operators to provide insurance coverage to all their respective lineworkers and extend other entitlements such as retirement and disability benefits, death and burial assistance and medical expense reimbursements, among others,” he added.
Moreover, Escudero said “it is hoped that the provision of insurance coverage and other benefits would ensure that our lineworkers, as well as their families, are protected from the risks and perils of their chosen occupation.”
As filed, SB 2303 defines “lineworkers” as “persons, including crews, drivers and helpers, who are directly responsible for the construction, installation, maintenance, reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of electrical transmission and distribution systems, including underground cables, electrical substations and other related electrical facilities.”
Escudero proposed that “all lineworkers shall be entitled to life, accident, or disability in life, accident or disability insurance benefits.” The minimum insurance coverage shall be at P200,000; P400,000; and P600,000 for small-scale, medium-sized and large electric cooperative, respectively.
Meanwhile, lineworkers in extra-large and mega-large electric cooperatives shall have a minimum insurance coverage of P800,000 and P1 million, respectively.
For private distribution utilities, the minimum insurance coverage shall be P1.5 million and for transmission or grid operators, the minimum insurance coverage shall be P2 million.
In addition to the mandated insurance coverage, the Bicolano senator also wants employers of lineworkers to ensure the provision of the following mandatory benefits: retirement benefits; death benefits and burial assistance; disability benefits; reimbursement of actual medical expenses in case of death, accident, sickness, disability or injury sustained by the lineworker in the line of duty; and, other benefits and entitlements as may be identified by the Department of Labor and Employment in consultation with the concerned stakeholders.
Image credits: Roy Domingo