To avert accidents, DOLE orients Bulacan LGU on safety and health in construction

In her speech at the commemoration of the late Secretary Blas F. Ople’s 88th birthday in Malolos, Bulacan the other day, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz spoke about how the former labor and employment secretary laid down the foundation of labor standards that today benefit the country’s workers.

She said that Blas F. Ople believed on enforcing the rules “on what you believe to be the mini-mum standards of human dignity and decency at the workplace” and that to fall below these means “falling below the threshold of what a Christian moral order considers tolerable.”

Baldoz used the occasion to remind Bulacan’s local government officials that voluntary compli-ance with all labor laws, including occupational safety and health regulations, make for good business, and that non-compliance poses problems for both workers and employers.

“Our obligation, our responsibility, also does not end at the issuance of permits, or the approval of the CSHP, or in the signing of memoranda of agreements. It goes beyond these, and continues even during the implementation of a construction project until it is fully completed. And during the construction, we have, in fact, the duty to strictly monitor compliance with the laws, rules, and regulations,” explained Baldoz.

She cited last month’s fatal accident in a construction site in nearby Guiguinto town which claimed the lives of 11 people, including nine workers, as a bad consequence of disregarding oc-cupational safety and health. In the audience was Guiguinto Mayor Ambrocio ‘Boy’ Cruz.
“It is still very fresh in my mind that the construction company involved in this accident was able to secure a business permit from the local government even without a DOLE-approved c labor law is construction safety and health program. The consequence of non-compliance could be ter-rible,” she said.

But the lesson from this accident has been learned, according to Baldoz. She said the DOLE’s Occupational Safety and Health Center, on 28 January, conducted an orientation on occupational safety and health for 11 personnel of the Guiguinto Engineering Office, Management of Disaster and Risks office, and the Public Employment Service Office to remind them of their share in the responsibility of ensuring health and safety in the workplace. The municipal engineer who prom-inently figured in the fatal accident, Engr. Arcadio Sulit, was one of the participants.

“During the DOLE investigation of the Guiguinto accident, Engr. Sulit was the one insisting on this orientation,” said OSHC Executive Director Ma. Teresa Cucueco, who said one of the good things that happened after the orientation was the forging of an agreement t from here on, the municipal engineer will require contractors with projects in Guiguinto to submit the DOLE-approved CSHP prior to issuance of a building permit.

“The municipal government also agreed to require the submission of DOLE Registration of Es-tablishments under Rule 1020 of the OSHS prior the renewal of business permit,” Cucueco re-ported.

At the orientation, OSHC and BWC personnel took turns in facilitating discussion on occupa-tional safety and health standards (OSHS); Department Order No. 13, Series of 1998, or the Guidelines Governing Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry; Department No. 128-13, entitled, Amending Rule 1414 on Scaffoldings of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, as amended; the Inter-agency Memorandum of Agreement between DOLE, DPWH, DILG, DTI, Philippine Constructors Accreditation Board, Construction Manpower De-velopment Foundation, and the Professional Regulations Commission.

The resource persons also explained the Construction Safety and Health Program as a require-ment for the issuance of building permit and the new Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS.)

In addition, copies of the OSH Standards, DO 13, Inter Agency MOA, MC issued by DPWH in fulfillment of the commitment to the JAO-MOA were provided to the Municipal Engineer.

Mayor Cruz thanked the DOLE for the orientation, saying he, too, is aware of the various OSH rules and regulations that needed to be complied with by business establishments, particularly those in construction.

“I was a former contractor of Pilipinas Shell in the construction of gasoline stations and hauling. I deeply regret the accident that happened in my town,” he said.

Following this orientation, Director Cucueco said the OSHC, in cooperation with other Bulacan LGUs, PCAB, and DPWH will conduct on 18 February a seminar-workshop on Construction Safety to be held at the OSHC. “Safety is crucial in attaining productivity in the workplace. For one, the rights at work firmly calls for a safe environment to prevent occupational injuries, fatali-ties, and including days lost due to incapacity cases brought by accidents,” said Sec. Baldoz.

Baldoz lauded the OSHC for acting fast in sharing its knowledge in occupational safety and health.

“The DOLE’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards protect workers against the dangers of injury, sickness, or death through safe and healthful working conditions, thereby assuring the conservation of valuable workforce resources and the prevention of loss or damage to lives and properties,” she said.

END/GerryRubio

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