Baguio City – In the interest of ensuring the protection and welfare of workers employed in the construction industry, the protection and welfare of the general public within and around the immediate vicinity of any construction worksite as well as the promotion of harmonious employer-employee relationships in the construction industry, and after consultations with the stakeholders in the construction industry, taking into consideration industry practices and applicable government requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) apply to all operations and undertakings in the construction industry and its subdivisions, namely, general building construction, general engineering construction and specialty trade construction, based on the classification code of the Philippine Construction Accreditation Board (PCAB) of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP); to companies and entities involved in demolition works; and to those falling within the construction industry.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) aimed at improving the process of approving Construction Safety and Health Programs – a fundamental requirement for all construction operations and also a requirement to ensure the safety and health of construction workers.

Every construction project shall have a suitable Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP), which must be in accordance with rules, and other orders and issuances issued by DOLE. The Construction Project Manager, or in his absence, the Project Manager as authorized by the owner, shall be responsible for compliance. This is to protect every worker against the dangers of injury, sickness or death through safe and healthful working conditions and assuring the conservation of valuable manpower resources and the prevention of loss or damage to lives and properties, the DOLE under Article 162 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards was promulgated for the guidance and compliance of all concerned.

Construction Safety and Health Program refers to a set of detailed rules covering the processes and practices that should be utilized in a specific construction site in conformity with occupational safety and health standards, including the personnel responsible and the penalties for rule violations

The MOA outlines the responsibilities of the DOLE and the DPWH on the approval of CSHP. Under the MOA, CSHP applications initially approved by the DPWH shall be considered as approved if it was not acted upon on the sixth day following the prescribed process cycle time of five working days from the date of submission of the complete documents. In such case, the DPWH may rely on the CSHP duly approved by concerned DOLE Regional Office and notice posted in its official website.

It states that the DOLE shall provide the DPWH a checklist of requirements for CSHP applications in compliance with DOLE Department Order No.13, Series of 1998. It shall also strictly observe the five-working day period to concur or deny the initially-approved CSHP applications by DPWH.

The DOLE-Regional Office, on the other hand, shall regularly provide the DPWH with a list of approved CSHP applications, indicating therein the project name, location and duration, project owner, general contractor, OSH personnel, and contracts for OSH services appropriate for a particular project, when applicable; undertake the necessary assessment of construction project sites as it monitors the execution of CSHP; deploy Labor Law Compliance Officer (LLCO) within 24 hours from receipt of information, the existence of imminent danger or accident which may result to disabling injury; and notify the DPWH of any work stoppage within 48 hours from the issuance of an order.

For its part, the DPWH shall require the winning contractor to submit the CSHP in accordance with Section 5 of DOLE D.O. No. 13, Series of 1998 which provides that every construction project shall have a suitable CSHP; receive CSHP applications which comply with the complete requirements prescribed by the DOLE; identify and send DPWH regional personnel that shall undergo DOLE orientation on the approval of CSHP.

The CHSP shall also include the provisions and instructions pertaining to the implementation of CSHP in every project bidding documents, specifically under the Instruction to Bidders; decentralize the approval of the CSHP to DPWH Regional Directors/District Engineers where the project site is located in accordance with DPWH rules and regulations; designate a General Construction Safety Officer who shall oversee the full time/overall implementation of the CSHP of the office concerned; and in case of existence of imminent danger or accident which may result or has resulted to disabling injury, inform the DOLE-Regional Director who has jurisdiction over the project site for the conduct of Occupational Safety and Health Investigation (OSHI).

The DOLE-DPWH MOA reinforces Joint Administrative Order 1, Series of 2012 issued by the DOLE, DPWH, DTI-Construction Manpower Development Foundation-Philippine Constructors Association Board, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Professional Regulation Commission and other specific issuances that seek to promote and ensure the safety and health of workers in the construction industry.

The DOLE is encouraging concerned citizens to report unsafe working conditions and practices in workplaces to the DOLE Regional Office and/or Provincial or City Field Offices for immediate action. This is one way for advocating the safety and health culture in workplaces with the participation and ownership of workers and the community. Safety programs and trainings help bring down accidents in construction industry.

For more information on Occupational Safety and Health Program you can visit www.oshc.dole.gov.ph www.dole.gov.ph or contact DOLE-CAR at (74) 443-5339 or email at dolecar88@gmail.com / Patrick T Rillorta