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Safety group calls for justice for scaffolding accident victims

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The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development extends its deepest condelences to the family of Jimmy Remonde, the construction worker who died when a scaffolding in a construction site in Paranaque City collapsed yesterday morning.

This incident adds to the long list of accidents involving unsafe scaffoldings in construction sites. Early this year, 5 constuction workers died and 12 were injured after the scaffolding they were using while fixing the smokestack of SPC Malaya Power Plant in Rizal fell down.

IOHSAD Executive Director Noel Colina said, " It is unfortunate that another accident involving a faulty scaffolding happened only three months after the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) published Department Order No. 128-13 amending the rule on scaffolding in the 1989 Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS)."

OSHS Rule 1414 details the safe procedures and standards required in using scaffoldings in construction sites. According to Rule 1441 (1), every scaffold shall be of good construction of sound materials and strength for the purpose for which it is intended. Training and competency in the part of scaffold erectors were added in the OSHS standards but proved insufficient in ensuring safety in construction sites as seen in this latest accident.

"Workers in construction sites face multiple hazards in their workplaces everyday. While some believe that injuries and even death are part of the work, this must not be the case. The government must ensure that workers' life and right to a safe workplace and othe labor rights are protected at all times," added Colina.

"We demand for justice, not only for Remondo's death but for all the construction workers involved in work-related accidents such as in Eton, Keppel and SPC Malaya Power Plant. Justice has been elusive to the victims and families of these work-related tragedies. Moreover, DoLE and related government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OHSC) must provide more safety inspectors especially in construction sites to ensure that contractors and employers strictly follow labor, health and safety standards," ended Colina.