• DOLE stops SM project in Visayas

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    The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Central Visayas has stopped the construction projects of retailer giant SM Hypermarket and two other companies for their non-compliance with labor laws and standards.

    In a report to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, the DOLE Region 7 chief, Director Exequiel Sarcauga, said that he ordered a halt in the construction of the following projects for various violations: SM Hypermarket at the Mactan Economic Zone 2 in Baska, Lapu-Lapu City; Chong Hua Hospital at Fuente Osmena; and the FLB Corporate Center project at the Cebu Business Park.

    According to Sarcauga, DOLE investigators found out that the contractors and sub-contractors of these projects violated Department Order No. 13 or the Guidelines Governing Safety and Health in the Construction Industry.

    “The joint assessment conducted by the DOLE Regional Office No. 7 of these construction projects showed the contractors and sub-contractors have a laundry list of general labor standards and OSH [operations safety and health]rules and regulations they need to comply with first before resuming construction activities. There is imminent danger to the lives of the workers if these compliances are not met,” Sarcauga said in his report.

    At the SM Hypermarket construction project, the DOLE discovered that the contractor, Momentum Construction and Development Corporation, has no approved structural analysis and design of the ‘monkey ladder’ being used as scaffolding for elevated exterior works; workers have inappropriate personal protective equipment; no certificate of training of scaffolders; no construction safety and health program; no safety officer; no first-aid officer; and non-submission of administrative reports, among other requirements.

    In the case of the Chung Hua Hospital, investigators found out the same list of violations by the project contractor.

    In addition, the DOLE said the contractor has no registration certificate from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB); no contract with the principal showing the cost of implementing the Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) as a separate item in the contract; and no policy on a drug-free workplace, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, and anti-sexual harassment.

    “There was imminent danger in the construction site, so we also stopped the project,” Sarcauga reported.

    In the case of the FLB Corporate Center project, Sarcauga halted construction after a worker fell his death and another was severely injured when the welded connection of the ‘monkey ladder’ they were using gave way and disconnected. The two workers were painters.

    “There was no safety officer in the site when the fatal accident happened,” Sarcauga said.

    DOLE accident investigators said the contractor had no approved structural analysis of the ‘monkey ladder’ used as scaffolding; no DOLE-approved CSHP; no safety committee and safety officers; no PCAB registration; no contract with the principal showing the cost of implementing the CSHP as a separate item in the contract; no administrative reports submitted; and no policy on a drug-free workplace, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, and Anti-Sexual Harassment.

    “The workers hired by the contractors and sub-contractors were using inappropriate PPE (personal protective equipment),” Sarcauga noted.

    Sarcauga said he has lifted the halt order issued to the contractors and sub-contractors of the FLB Corporate Center project following their compliance on all requirements.

    Baldoz commended the DOLE regional office for its vigilance, but said the DOLE must not lift work stoppage orders until and unless contractors and subcontractors are “100 percent compliant.”

    “That’s the new normal now and, therefore, I urge all contractors and subcontractors to voluntarily comply,” she said.

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