DOLE to check compliance of occupational safety in construction sites

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 March) – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao has launched a region-wide inspection of industrial and commercial construction sites to check the compliance of local construction firms with the government’s occupational safety and labor regulations.

Lawyer Ma. Gloria Tango, DOLE Region 12 director, said Thursday they have commissioned a special team to visit various construction sites in the area and mainly assess the safety standards being implemented by construction companies.

She said the team, which includes three licensed civil engineers, was also tasked to look into the compliance of the concerned companies with various labor standards and policies, especially the implementation of the minimum wage law.

“We want to make sure that our construction workers are safe and well-protected while doing their assigned jobs and at the same time ensure that they are receiving the appropriate salaries,” Tango said.

The regional labor official said they initially dispatched the inspection team to this city earlier this week to visit the sites of ongoing construction projects, especially those that involved multilevel structures.

She said the team is scheduled to conduct similar inspections soon in other key cities and municipalities in the region.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Tango said the inspection of the construction sites, which was based on a directive earlier issued by THE DOLE central office, was an offshoot of an accident in January involving a condominium project in Makati City that killed at least 10 construction workers.

The workers fell off the 28th floor of Eton Residences condominium project located at Paseo de Roxas and Gallardo Street in Makati City after a scaffolding that they used to install glass panels on the building had collapsed.

Citing provisions of the country’s Occupational Safety Standards, Tango said construction companies should provide their workers with personal protective devices like hard hats and safety shoes.

She said they should follow the standard safety requirements in case they are using scaffolding and other related structures in their work places.

Aside from compliance with the mandated minimum wages, which is currently set at P260 per day in the region, Tango said the inspection team will also check whether local construction firms were employing minors or workers aged 18 old and below.

“Construction work is hazardous in nature so the hiring of child laborers is strictly prohibited for such line of work,” she added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)