Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hanjin men required to take safety course

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Workers of the Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) will undergo a mandatory safety orientation course starting next week to help address safety concerns at the company’s $1.6-billion shipbuilding facility here.

The training was required by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which have both expressed alarm over the number of fatal accidents at the shipyard since 2007.

“This will be a basic safety orientation course for construction workers, including safety officers, employed by Hanjin and its subcontractors,” said SBMA administrator and chief executive officer Armand Arreza.

“Every day, starting Sept. 1, there will be 120 shipyard workers attending the safety course,” he said.

The safety appreciation course, which will be conducted by the DOLE’s Occupational Safety and Health Center, will cover five topics each day.

The course is primarily targeted at safety officers employed by Hanjin and its subcontractors. They, in turn, are expected to impart the lessons to their respective work units.

Arreza said the safety orientation course is necessary, as the investigation into the 15 fatal accidents in the shipyard showed that the workers themselves had committed some safety lapses.

“There were cases when workers refused to wear hard hats because they found them uncomfortable. So we have to really inculcate a culture of safety among the workers, too,” he said.

Aside from the safety orientation course, health and safety experts of the DOLE and SBMA also conducted training at the Hanjin shipyard recently, according to the SBMA Occupational Health and Safety Office.

One of these safety courses was conducted by the DOLE’s Bureau of Working Conditions and the Association of Safety Practitioners Inc., a private safety group.

A DOLE team has also been conducting a five-day construction safety training since Tuesday, with 58 participants from Hanjin and its subcontractors.

As part of the SBMA’s action plan to foster safety at the Hanjin shipyard, Arreza said they will set up an office at the site, to be manned by occupational health and safety personnel and employees of the SBMA’s labor department.

“We (at the SBMA) want to establish a strong presence at the shipyard, so we can enforce adequate control,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arreza gave assurance that Hanjin subcontractors that were found to have violated regulations on occupational health and safety and other labor requirements “won’t be tolerated by the SBMA.”

Of 42 companies subcontracted by Hanjin for various operations in the shipyard, he said 18 have been terminated due to infractions or failure to secure proper accreditation.

These subcontrators included UT Corp., whose worker Efren de la Cruz was the 15th fatality at the Hanjin construction site.

The other subcontractors whose accreditation were not renewed are Electro Dynamics Construction Development Inc., AFR Construction and Development Co. Inc., Canall Corp., Ron Daniel Construction Corp., Traffic Control Product Corp., General Corp., Geoscience Technology, A.V. Subia Garden, Beton Bau Phils. Inc., Doublefold Construction Corp., Inyoung Phils. Inc., Jeil Sanup Corp., KMI-KJK Inc., LC Builders and Developers Inc., R.P. Alejandro Construction Inc., Wierig Industrial Products Inc., and I. Stone International Corp. – By Bebot Sison Jr. With Ric Sapnu - PhilStar

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