DPHW sets new construction safety guidelines during COVID-19 pandemic
DPWH has recently issued DO 39 S. 2020, providing guidelines on construction safety during COVID-19 pandemic.
· 6 min read
YES, DPWH has the authority to issue guidelines on the implementation of infrastructure even on the PRIVATE sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the IATF's Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.
While the previous order required COVID-19 rapid testing of workers prior to deployment, this new order allows 14-day Quarantine prior to deployment as an option for the testing. LGU's and government agencies can also now monitor compliance on their respective projects.
Sharing below the contents on the Revised Construction Safety Guidelines:
Prior to Deployment
Any person below twenty-one (21) years old, those who are sixty (60) years old and above, those with immune deficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including those who reside with the aforementioned, shall NOT be part of the workforce for construction projects except as may be allowed under the Revised Omnibus Guidelines issued by the IATF.
Construction personnel shall undergo quarantine for fourteen (14) days prior to deployment; OR in the alternative, the employee may undergo any available Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - approved COVID-19 test, as may be prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH), and be retested as the need arises. In this regard, consultation with medical doctors (duly accredited by DOH, if possible) prior to the conduct of COVID-19 test shall be made. Further, COVID-19 test procedures and return-to-work policies of the contractors should comply with DOH Circular No. 2020-0160 dated 31 March 2020, Department Memorandum No. 2020-0220 dated 11 May 2020, and other pertinent issuances of the DOH on the matter
Concessionaires contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers shall provide the necessary welfare facilities and amenities, ensuring compliance with social distancing, proper hygiene, etc.
Concessionaires, contractors, and subcontractors shall ensure that their projects are in compliance with DOLE D.O. No. 13, Series of 1998, and the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19. Contractors shall provide their personnel and workers continuous supply of vitamins, particularly vitamin C, other over-the-counter medicines, quarantine facilities, and oxygen tanks for emergency purposes.
Concessionaires, contractors, and subcontractors shall provide disinfection facilities at their respective project sites in compliance with pertinent DOH and IATF Guidelines, to be placed at strategic locations to ensure the safety and welfare of all personnel.
Proper information dissemination regarding COVID-19 construction protocols, on top of existing construction safety practices, shall be conducted by Safety Officers to all personnel.
Conduct an inventory of works for the construction sequencing to be followed and undertaken to uphold the required social distancing. Break times shall be conducted in a staggered manner.
Employees shall be housed in their respective quarters for the entire duration of the project covered by the ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ. In case there is a need to leave the said quarters during the project duration, “Prior to Deployment” procedures shall be conducted at every instance of re-entry.
Errands to be conducted outside the construction site premises shall be kept to a minimum. Number of personnel running errands shall be limited and shall be properly disinfected and closely monitored for symptoms within fourteen (14) days upon re-entry.
Field offices, employees’ quarters, and other common areas shall be regularly maintained, including the daily disinfection of such facilities.
Adequate food, safe/potable drinking water, disinfectants, and hand soaps shall be made available by the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to their inhouse personnel.
Daily monitoring of the pre and post-work health conditions of workers shall be undertaken by the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, including but not limited to temperature, health, and exposure monitoring, as preventive measures. Personnel with manifestations or symptoms relative to COVID-19 shall be immediately isolated and quarantined for fourteen (14) days and if necessary, brought to the nearest DOH COVID-19 treatment facility under strict confidentiality and privacy. Proper protocols in accordance with the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 shall likewise be strictly observed.
Work activities shall be strictly monitored daily by the Safety Officer on site to ensure compliance with safety standards and quarantine protocols.
There shall be a full-time Safety Engineer/Officer assigned at the site who shall strictly monitor work activities. Said Safety Engineer/Officer shall ensure strict compliance with DOLE D.O. No. 13, Series of 1998 and the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 with regard to the wearing of additional personal protective equipment (PPE) required such as, but not limited to, face masks, safety glasses/goggles, face shields, and long sleeve T-shirts, and other measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, as provided in these Guidelines.
For off-site employees’ quarters, transport service, duly disinfected before and after use, shall be provided, and social distancing shall likewise be observed therein at all times in accordance with DOTr guidelines.
Sharing of construction and office equipment is discouraged. However, if necessary, the shared equipment must be disinfected in between transfers amongst personnel.
All material and equipment delivery and disposal shall be conducted by a specific team of personnel on an isolated loading/unloading zone while limiting contact with the delivery/disposal personnel. All material and/or equipment entering the construction site shall be duly disinfected as much as possible.
Non-essential personnel, visitors, and the general public shall be restricted to enter the construction site, employees’ quarters, and field offices. Otherwise, all personnel entering the construction site premises on a temporary basis (e.g. delivery truck drivers, inspectors, etc.) shall be properly logged and checked for symptoms. Gatherings, liquors, and/or merry-making are strictly prohibited within the construction site premises.
Clustered and staggered deployment of employees within the construction site shall be observed to minimize personnel contact and for easier contact tracing.
Proper waste disposal shall be provided for infectious waste such as PPEs and other waste products coming from outside the construction premises.
Monitoring and Enforcement
For DPWH infrastructure projects, the head of the concerned DPWH Implementing Office (IO) shall monitor compliance with these Guidelines and issue construction quarantine pass (QP) to the individual qualified personnel of the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers based on the list submitted and certified by the said concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, clearly stating the identification, designation, nature of work, validity, and destination. It is understood that the QP referred in these Guidelines shall cover transit of personnel from (a) MGCQ, GCQ, MECQ area to ECQ area, and vice versa, and (b) an area not under community quarantine to a MGCQ, GCQ, MECQ, ECQ area, and vice versa.
For LGU implemented projects and private construction projects, the LGU concerned, through its City/Municipal Engineering Office, shall monitor compliance with these Guidelines and shall issue QPs to the individual qualified personnel of the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers based on the list submitted and certified by the said concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.
For infrastructure projects implemented by other national government agencies, Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC), and other government instrumentalities, the head or representative of the agency, GOCC, or government instrumentality concerned shall monitor compliance with these Guidelines and issue QPs to the individual qualified personnel of the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers based on the list submitted and certified by the said concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.
For monitoring purposes, personal records and health report of all personnel necessary for contact tracing shall be submitted by the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to the DPWH IO, LGU, or Implementing Government Agency, Instrumentality or GOCC, as the case may be, and shall be resubmitted and updated monthly, or as the need arises (Copies of the monitoring forms are attached hereto as Annexes “B” and “C”)
Concessionaires, contractors, and subcontractors shall submit the design for disinfection facilities and amenities, for monitoring purposes, to the DPWH IO, LGU, or Implementing Government Agency, Instrumentality or GOCC, as the case may be, as mentioned in Section III (A) (5).
Concessionaires, contractors, and subcontractors shall submit to the DPWH IO, LGU, or Implementing Government Agency, Instrumentality or GOCC, as the case may be, a certification under oath that they have complied and shall continue to comply with the provisions of these Guidelines within fifteen (15) days from commencement of work (A copy of the certification is attached hereto as Annex “D”).
The allowed government and private construction projects are subject to the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry in order to ensure compliance with the provisions on maximum allowable operational capacity in establishments as well as minimum health standards and protocols in accordance with Section 8 (4) of the Revised Omnibus Guidelines.
For information on proper guidance on the DPWH Revised Construction Safety Guidelines for the Implementation of Infrastructure Projects During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis, view or download the document here DPWH DO. 39 Series of 2020.
The Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines is downloadable here.
Herbert is a registered civil engineer in the Philippines and holds a masters degree in Civil Engineering.