NGO: Construction 2nd most hazardous sector

Posted at 01/28/11 4:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A non-governmental organization scored the current workplace safety monitoring implemented by the labor department after the tragic accident at a high-rise Eton Residences in Makati City claimed 10 lives.

In a Jan. 28 statement, the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) urged the labor department to be more strict in ensuring safety standards in hazardous sectors since the current practice of voluntary assessment is not working.

“Self-assessment of workplaces, especially those belonging to the hazardous sector, as allowed by Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Order 57-04, have been deficient to say the least. The tragic events that transpired yesterday attest to this,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of IOHSAD.

“What we need now is for the DoLE to clamp down on all erring companies and ensure their follow safety standards to avoid another Eton tragedy,” Colina added.

On Jan. 27, 10 construction workers fell to their death after boarding a gondola meant to carry only 2 persons. The workers boarded the gandola from the 28th floor to take their lunch.

The IOHSAD noted in that construction is the second most hazardous sector next to mining.

Citing a 2009 report, it said 26 deaths were recorded from the construction sector while 84 deaths were accounted for by the mining sector.

“The DoLE should prioritize hiring new workplace inspectors to supplement the existing number of inspectors the Occupational Health and Safety Center (OHSC) has at its disposal. They should prioritize the hazardous sectors and ensure that at least every 6 months this workplaces undergo mandatory inspections,” Colina said.

Meanwhile, another NGO, the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research Inc. (EILER), cited the existing practice of subcontracting chains in the construction sector as a way for property developers, in this case Eton Properties Philippines Inc., to escape liability. It urged the labor department to end this practice.