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DOLE to inspect bunkhouses in Cebu City

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Following the collapse of a bunkhouse that killed at least five persons last March 6, the Department of Labor and Employment will inspect sleeping accommodations in construction areas in Cebu City.

DOLE Region 7 Director Cyril Ticao said labor inspectors would check the bunkhouses of construction sites to determine their compliance with safety standards.

The inspections stemmed from the collapse of a bunkhouse at the construction project of JE Abraham C. Lee Construction and Development Inc., where five were killed and 55 injured.

“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,” Ticao said.

He said the March 6 incident was “a glaring negligence of safety standards,” adding the sleeping quarters 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.

He said all temporary structures, bunkhouse or not, should be properly supported.

The DOLE cited its Department Order No. 13 issued in 1998 provided guidelines for occupational safety and health in the construction industry.

Under the guidelines, employers are to provide workers humane working conditions including:
– adequate safe drinking water
– adequate sanitary and washing facilities
– suitable living accommodation for workers
– separate sanitary, washing and sleeping facilities for men and women workers

Meanwhile, Ticao urged ITC-Construction to advocate 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 nalang kung ano ang nakasaad sa batas,” he said.

He added the promotion of safety and health in the workplace is everyone’s business.