January 31, 2023

One of the important requirements for the approval of a property owner’s building permit is the Construction Safety and Health Program (CSHP) document guided by the implementing rules and regulations of the Department of Labor and Employment along with the memorandum of agreement of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The document ensures the protection and welfare of employed construction workers and the general public that is within or around the site of construction.
The CSHP assures safety and harmony among the workers and contractors involved in construction or renovation of projects, such as residential, commercial, offices, and shops. With its approval from DOLE, it helps in preventing worksite accidents and injuries through the project’s implementation of suitable programs, activities, systems, and procedures passed in the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS).
Accidents at construction sites can range from minor to tragic, and some even result in death.
In April, the DOLE-Cordillera penalized a construction company in Baguio with a fine of P100,000 for the death of a construction worker.
Last week, another construction company was penalized with P30,000 fine for failure of the contractor to install safety signages at the unfinished manhole along the off-carriageway project.
Installing safety signages in construction projects warns the workers, pedestrians, or passersby of the hazard or danger. Failure to install these signages poses danger to life, limb, and property.
The penalties were imposed for violation of DOLE OSHS and Department Order 198-18 or the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11058, an Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations.
Based on the data gathered by the DOLE inspectorate, the injuries recorded at construction sites include amputations, blindness, deafness, broken bones, back injuries, burns, concussion, and wounds.
These accidents are caused by the negligence of others: faulty construction equipment; absence or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE); use of defective machines; absence of first aiders, safety officers, and medical personnel at construction sites; lack of safety signages, even reckless co-workers; and inadequate safety or equipment training.
DOLE-Cordillera Director Nathaniel Lacambra during the management committee meeting said these accidents are grim reminders of how hazardous construction work is and a reminder to contractors and their subcontractors to mind their workers’ safety by complying with OSH regulations.
Joint Administrative Order 1, s. 2011 still holds.
This memorandum of agreement by and among DOLE, DPWH, Department of Trade and Industry, Construction Manpower Development Foundation-Philippine Constructors Accreditation Board (CMDF-PCAB), Department of the Interior and Local Government, and Professional Regulation Commission covers the commitments, agreements, and responsibilities among the collaborating agencies to ensure safety and health of workers in the construction industry.
Under JAO 01-11, after the approval of the CSHP, the DOLE regional office through the labor inspectorate undertakes the inspection and verification and submit reports to the Bureau of Working Conditions. In cases where there is violation of labor standards, rules, and regulations, the DOLE refers the matter to the PCAB for blacklisting when the violation constitutes prima facie of construction malperformance of grave consequence as defined in Contractors Licensing Law.
In cases of accidents or death of worker/s or imminent danger to the public, the DOLE regional director will issue a work stoppage order to the company and its sub-contractors based on the results of investigation on the accident that happened at the construction site.
Violations noted in the investigations by DOLE-Cordillera include the non-registration of the establishment under Rule 1020, lack of OSH program, inadequate number of safety officers, lack of eight-hour mandatory OSH orientation to all workers, lack of occupational health physicians, and inadequate safety signages.
Other violations are non-provision of safety measures when operating machines, lack of a defined procedure in performing hazardous work, and contractors/company’s subcontractors are not registered with the PCAB.