By Leslie Ann Aquino
Workers group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said there was a need for the government to be consistent in conducting surprise visits and onsite validation inspection in enforcing the tenets of construction safety and health standards upon issuing the construction and demolition permits.
The group said this after two construction workers were killed and several others injured when the building owned by Sogo hotel undergoing demolition collapsed Monday morning in Ermita, Manila.
“This fatal Sogo construction site mishap multiple deaths shows the repeating cycle of how city hall building permit officials and the Labor department regional officers are negligent in conducting onsite inspection and worksite visits before or after issuing building and demolition permits to building owners and contractors,” said TUCP President Raymond Mendoza in a statement.
He said most building owners and contractors were good only in securing the required papers and documents in securing building and demolition permits and clearances at the city hall and at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional offices.
“But because there is no follow-up on-site inspections, actual worksite compliance to building permit and construction industry safety and health protocols becomes invisible because of lack of validation inspection,” Mendoza explained.
“Most building owners and contractors wanted to finish the project quickly as and at a low cost as possible and at the expense of the safety and well-being of construction workers. Without government on-site inspections, fatal and death-causing accidents such as this Sogo hotel demolition incident happens,” he added.
“The TUCP ardently hopes that city hall officials and labor regional officers to be consistent in conducting worksite inspections to ensure building owners and contractors comply with the occupational safety and health standards that the building and demolition permits and clearances requires,” said Mendoza.
TUCP said site visits to double check the building and demolition clearance and permit application will greatly reduce non-compliance to safety and health standards.
From January to September 2019, the TUCP recorded at least 11 more construction workers killed and several others were wounded in different construction accidents that took place in various parts of the building construction and demolition sites in the country.