Baldoz says DOLE’s OSH programs contribute to fewer mining and construction accidents

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday that safety and health programs being implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment, in coordination with its tripartite social partners, have resulted to increased awareness on OSH in workplaces and decreased accidents in mining and construction.

Citing a report of Executive Director Teresa S. Cucueco of the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Baldoz said mining accidents from 2012 to 2013 reached only 27 occurring in underground mines; seven in exploration mines; and 12 in cement plants, while 70 accidents were recorded in underground mines, nine in exploration mines, and 38 in cement plants from 2009 to 2010.

“The bi-annual data from the Mining Evaluation and Safety Division of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau on the performance of the mining industry show that mining accidents have decreased,” said Baldoz, quoting Director Cucueco’s report.

In construction, Cucueco said construction accidents have decreased.

“Of the 48,000 accidents reported between 2011-2012, six percent, or 3,032, happened in construction sites. Of the 39,000 accidents reported between 2009-2010, eight percent occurred in construction workplaces,” said Cucueco.

Baldoz said that while jobs in the construction and mining industry are among the most hazardous occupations, she is encouraged that that the safety and health programs implemented by the DOLE and its various social partners had contributed to the significant decline in the number of accidents in these sectors.

“There are rules and regulations in place to help workers protect themselves and prevent accidents in mining and construction sites. The OSH programs of the DOLE provide adequate awareness and basic knowledge on occupational safety and health practices which will help curb the recurrence of work-related hazards, illnesses, and accidents in workplaces,” said Baldoz.

Among the programs being implemented by the DOLE, its attached agency–OSHC– and the Occupational Safety and Health Networks (OSHNets) nationwide for construction include the Basic Occupational Safety and Health (BOSH) training, Construction Safety Training (CST), Construction Safety Orientation, specialized training courses in crane and forklift safety, assessment for scaffolding erectors, and the Zero Accident Program. The BOSH, a mandatory course, is also being implemented in mining and shipbuilding, two of the three priority sectors, the other one being construction.

Baldoz said that last year, the scaffolding guidelines have been amended with more stringent requirements for workers handling scaffolds. The OSHC has been certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and currently has more than 20 applicants for the assessor certification.

In 2013, a total of 3,102 participants from 982 construction companies had attended the mandatory 40-hour CST conducted by OSHC and the OSHNETs. The number included 1,375 participants from small-scale construction companies who availed of the training for free. As of May this year, 1,864 participants have already attended the CST and the one-day construction safety orientation.

Back in 2012, the OSHC spearheaded the Safety Patrol, a team of experts from DOLE regional offices, OSHC, and tripartite partners who conduct safety audits in construction sites around the country.

The task of the Safety Patrol has been integrated into the duties and responsibilities of the Labor Laws Compliance Officers under the new Labor Laws Compliance Program. Experts from OSHC, the Employees Compensation Commission, and Bureau of Working Conditions also join the audit whenever necessary.

Just recently, DOLE Region 6 has begun the Iwas Aksidente Patrol, or IwAP Mo Project. This innovation of DOLE RO 6 Director Ponciano Ligutom encourages concerned citizens to report unsafe working conditions and practices in workplaces to the DOLE Regional and field offices for immediate action.

“IwAP Mo is an excellent mechanism for advocating the safety and health culture in workplaces with the participation and ownership of workers and the community. And this can be benchmarked by all the regions. We are planning to launch this as a nationwide campaign during the 14th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress in November 2014,” Baldoz said.

Any question on this release? Please contact Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco, MD, CESO III, executive director, Occupational Safety and Health Center, North Avenue corner Agham Road, Diliman, Quezon City with telephone numbers 929-6036 to 39 and e-mail address: [email protected]

END/DJ/Letmaring

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