WORKPLACE SAFETY. The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center headed by Councilor Joel Garganera meets with the construction sector stakeholders on Monday (Sept. 21, 2020) in Cebu City. Garganera said that the swab testing for construction workers would be shouldered by the Department of Health but the food provisions and isolation expenses would be provided by the contractor or project owner in case a worker has to be quarantined or an entire staff house would be locked down. (Photo from Joel Garganera’s official FB page)

CEBU CITY – The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) here is looking for ways to ensure workplace safety in the construction industry.

Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the EOC, said this on Monday following reports on increased coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission among construction workers.

“During the past few weeks, the EOC observed that there is a significant increase of transmission among construction workers. In line with this, we conducted a coordination meeting with the stakeholders to get a glimpse of their situation and how we can further improve the health protocols,” the official said in an official social media post.

Garganera said he met with officials from the Cebu Contractors Association, Cebu City’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of the Interior and Local Government to discuss the concerns.

During the meeting, Garganera clarified that the swab testing for construction workers would be shouldered by the Department of Health but food provisions and isolation expenses would be provided by the contractor or project owner in case a worker has to be quarantined or an entire staff house would be locked down.

“For public works, food provision will be provided by the DPWH or the contractor,” he said.

Construction companies have also been ordered to employ their own health and infection prevention control officer to streamline the process of contact tracing.

“On top of that, there will also be a point person per bunk house or staff house for easy communications with the city's contact tracing team,” Garganera said.

He added that a request had been raised to allow trucks to traverse the city roads to transport workers to designated construction sites.

He said however that physical distancing must be strictly implemented in company transport vehicles.

The Office of the Building Official and the BPLO will also work together to make a master list of all ongoing construction sites in the city for contact tracing purposes, Garganera said. (PNA)