Dole-Central Visayas halts project after construction worker died

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 ordered to stop all construction work at the Velez Medical Arts Building on F. Ramos St. in Cebu City after a construction worker died when he fell from the eighth floor of the building.

The work stoppage order was issued against the building owner and general contractor of the project, Primary Structures Corp. (PSC).

Officers of the PSC assured that aside from correcting the violations noted by Dole 7, they are also providing assistance to the family of Jonathan Hermata.

Rommel Ceniza, PSC legal officer, said they were given until Friday to correct the violations and submit the needed documents.

Ceniza also said that the company shouldered Hermata’s burial expenses.

Their personnel have been visiting Hermata’s hometown in Carmen to help the family prepare for the wake and burial, which is scheduled on Sunday.

Last Sept. 28, Hermata, the leader of a team of laborers, was helping relocate their debris catcher from the building’s eighth floor to the ninth floor when he fell.

Dole 7 Assistant Director Lilia Estillore then issued a work stoppage order against PSC.

In a statement, Estillore said they found out that Hermata was not wearing a full body harness and there was no independent lifeline installed, causing him to fall to the ground without any protection.

Dole also found that PSC had no accredited safety practitioner and safety officer at the site.

Estillore said she has coordinated with the Employees Compensation Commission to release the benefits to Hermata’s family.

The work stoppage order will be lifted once the PSC corrects the deficiencies and violations.

Other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards noted by Dole were: there was no Dole-approved Construction Safety and Health Program; no sanctions or penalties were given to workers for not wearing or using their personal protective equipment; no safety orientation for all workers especially those working at heights; no work accident report submitted by the safety officer using the prescribed form; and insufficient lighting installed along the debris catcher area for de-installation activities. (JKV)
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