Gov’t tightens regulations to prevent accidents at construction projects

Published by rudy Date posted on May 26, 2011

FIVE GOVERNMENT agencies have agreed to step up efforts to prevent accidents in construction sites, following the death of 10 construction workers in Makati City early this year.

In a memorandum signed last month, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) agreed to integrate their efforts toward an “accident-free” construction industry.

The DPWH and DILG are tasked to direct local government units to require applicants for building permits to submit and implement a DoLE-approved construction safety and health program, said DoLE in a statement. The DILG shall also ensure that building permits are issued only to contractors and subcontractors licensed by the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board.

Meanwhile, the PRC shall conduct ocular inspections and monitoring of construction firms and projects, mechanical equipment, electrical installations, and emergency health facilities and personnel to ensure compliance with professional regulatory laws and standards. The commission will then submit reports to DoLE’s Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) for evaluation.

The DTI is expected to conduct trainings and seminars for construction workers about hazards in their workplace.

“With improved coordination among the different departments and with DTI as a new addition to the roster of concerned agencies, the will to push this through is stronger. Also, the contribution of each agency is more clearly outlined in the recent memorandum of agreement,” Sylvia C. Valdez of the BWC told BusinessWorld.

“Since it is quite known that construction is a dangerous occupation to venture in, the provision of this kind of agreement is a good initiative to boost the compliance of construction sites with occupational safety and health standards,” said Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco, executive director of the Occupational Safety and Health Center.

Last January, 10 men died at a construction site of a condominium project in Makati. Investigators said the victims had boarded a service elevator meant for only six persons, causing it to collapse.

The Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics recorded 2,076 cases of injuries in the construction industry in 2007. Of this number, 822 cases led to temporary incapacity for work, while 16 cases rendered the victims permanently incapable of working at construction sites. — J. M. Conde, Businessworld

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