TUCP: Probe Hanjin accidents

Published by rudy Date posted on August 21, 2008

from The Manila Times

The Senate and House committees on labor and employment should investigate “the unusually high incidence of accidental deaths” of building workers at the $1.6-billion shipyard project of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction-Philippines Inc. in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, a labor group official said Wednesday.

“We are unsettled by what appears to the exceedingly high rate of fatal job accidents at the project site,” Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Secretary-General Ernesto Herrera said.

Herrera, a former lawmaker, said the accidents could be attributed to Hanjin’s inadequate work safety standards despite previous tragedies, or the firm’s employment of underage or untrained laborers.

He also cited that the workers could be suffering from too much pressure to get the job done, thus increasing the risk of accidents.

On August 6, another worker was killed after he fell from the roof of a high-rise building being constructed at the shipyard project.

Arvy Mahinay, 19, became the 14th worker to die on the job at the project site as a result of an accident.

“Considering the high mortality rate, we presume the rate of non-fatal work-related injuries there is also particularly high, although these do not generate as much publicity,” Herrera said.

Herrera said the labor group welcomed the massive shipyard project, which is expected to employ up to 20,000 workers once fully operational.

But while the construction activity alone at the site has already provided employment to thousands of workers, Herrera stressed that the continuing loss of human lives at the project site was totally unacceptable.

Hanjin’s Subic project recently became the subject of a Senate inquiry, following reports that two high-rise condominiums being put up there encroach upon a protected rainforest.

–Sammy Martin

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