Construction accidents can range from minor to tragic, and frequently result in death. The types of injuries one can sustain from these accidents include: amputations, blindness, deafness, broken bones, back injuries, burns, concussion, wounds and much more. These accidents can result from the negligence of others, faulty construction equipment; no personal protective equipment (PPE), unchecked defective products and defective machines; inadequate safety or equipment training, absence of first aiders, safety officers and medical personnel in construction sites or workplaces, lack of safety signage’s at the site, as well as negligent or reckless co-workers.

The fatal accident that occurred in a construction project in Camp 7, Baguio City where a laborer was crushed when a rip-rap support beside him collapsed as he was excavating on site is a grim reminder how hazardous construction work is, and therefore contractors and their subcontractors must seriously mind their workers’ safety by complying strictly with Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulations and adhering fully to accepted construction standards.

Seeking to achieve ‘zero’ accident in all construction workplaces, Regional Director Nathaniel V. Lacambra of the Department of Labor and Employment – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOLE-CAR) has directed Labor Inspectors and personnel of the Occupational Safety and Health Center – Regional Extension Office – CAR (OSHC-REU-CAR) to see to it that no more fatal accidents will happen.

Director Lacambra warned building developers, construction companies, contractors and their subcontractors not to take lightly nor disregard construction safety and health, but ensure that their construction sites and workplaces are healthful and safe, adding that there is no compromise in wrongful death cases of workers resulting from construction accidents.

Health and safety is crucial in attaining productivity in the workplace, but more so, the rights at work of the workers which calls for a safe environment to prevent occupational injuries, fatalities, and including days and income loss brought about by accidents.

Starting mid-April, the DOLE Cordillera Regional Office Labor Inspectors and Provincial Labor Inspectors will strictly implement the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOLE and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)  aimed at improving the process of approving Construction Safety and Health Programs;  a fundamental requirement for all construction operations will be strictly enforce without let-up and moment of delay occupational health and safety standards as well as corrective safety and health measures to ensure that mishaps in construction workplaces are avoided and mitigated and that workers are well-protected.

The DOLE in its campaign for safety and health, backed by the MOA signed with the DPWH, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF), the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

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 the concerned DOLE regional office and the notice posted in its official website.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III has signed Department Order 198, which details the IRR of Republic Act 11058 or “An act strengthening compliance with occupational safety and health standards and providing penalties for violations thereof.” The IRR, signed Dec. 7, 2018, took effect last Jan. 25, 2019 and applies to all establishments, projects and sites, and all other places where work is being undertaken wherein the number of employees, nature of operations, and risk or hazard involved in the business require compliance. It also covers the contractors and subcontractors and those engaged in the projects of the public sector.

This year, DOLE-CAR also aim to have more inspections and will continue but there are priorities, especially those which are high risk for Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), for safety and health that is why in terms of priorities, these are construction sites, the BPO (business process outsourcing), because of the high report of Covid-19 infections and the transportation sector and manufacturing sector will also be included in these priority sectors for inspection.

“You don’t need to know the whole alphabet of Safety. The A, B, C of it will save you if you follow it: Always Be Careful.”

END/Patrick Rillorta