DOLE to check safety of bunkhouses for workers in Cebu

MANILA -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will inspect bunkhouses, or buildings offering basic sleeping accommodation for workers particularly in construction areas in Cebu City, to determine whether these are compliant with safety standards.

Most certainly, we would be sending our labor inspectors to various construction sites and this time, we would be checking not only the safety compliance insofar as the construction project is concerned but also the sleeping quarters provided to the workers, DOLE-7 Regional Director Cyril Ticao said in a statement Thursday.

The move was prompted by the incident that killed five people and wounding 55 others after a bunkhouse at the construction project of JE Abraham C. Lee Construction and Development Incorporated, collapsed, earlier this month.

Ticao noted that the incident was a glaring negligence of safety standards, saying that the structure, as a sleeping quarter, did not pass the prescribed safety requirements.

That bunkhouse was very uncomfortable for the workers. They could not stand once inside and all they could do was either sit or lie down. The fact that it collapsed sent a clear message that it was never suitable for a sleeping quarter to begin with, he said.

Department Order No. 13, Series of 1998 or the Guidelines Governing Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry provides that employers are to provide workers the following to ensure humane working conditions: (a) Adequate supply of safe drinking water; (b) Adequate sanitary and washing facilities; (c) Suitable living accommodation for workers, and as may be applicable, for their families; and (d) separate sanitary, washing and sleeping facilities for men and women workers.

Meanwhile, the DOLE-7 head emphasized the importance of observing suitable living conditions that must be afforded to workers, noting that the same was underscored during the recent General Membership Meeting (GMM) called immediately for the Industry Tripartite Council in Construction (ITC-Construction).

At the same time, Ticao urged ITC-Construction to take part in advocating for safety and health in the workplace and the provision of safe and suitable living conditions to workers.

Construction is definitely one of the major industries that the DOLE is eyeing for inspection. Sana naman hindi na sila maghintay na ma-inspect pa namin. Dapat sundin na lang kung ano ang nakasaad sa batas. (We hope they don't have to wait for our inspection. They should comply with the law.) The promotion of safety and health in the workplace is everyone's business. Let's be one in this, he said.

We have high hopes that our partners not only those in the ITC-Construction but also our counterparts from other Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils and Industry Tripartite Councils will support us all the way in this advocacy, Ticao added. (PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency