Construction sites need monitoring for safety standards

So far, the regional labor office in Phuentsholing has received nine cases of injuries at workplaces around Phuentsholing since 2017

Safety at construction sites and workplaces has become a concern with workers at most of the sites rarely using safety equipment like boots, helmets, gloves and etc.

 The issue has emerged after the recent case of fire incident in Gol building demolition site in Phuentsholing. While no casualty was reported, fire caught one side of the green net around the building.

The contractor, Pema Namgyel, said the assembled fumes while cutting rod caused the fire and that the net was replaced for the safety of the people walking below the site.

Officials from the labor ministry’s regional office in Phuentsholing say that the ministry monitors the safety of laborers at their workplaces and that many laborers are seen without safety equipments, except at a few sites. Citing inconveniences, these laborers work without the safety gears, including helmets and gloves.

Labor ministry’s Regional Director Sonam Tenzin said the laborers are reluctant to use safety gears despite being provided by the employers.

 According to him, it is expected to take some years to ensure safe working environment, particularly at construction sites. The industries have been providing safety equipments at the plants as required by Occupational Health and Safety where the committee makes constant monitoring.

So far, the regional labor office in Phuentsholing has received nine cases of injuries at workplaces around Phuentsholing since 2017. “Some cases go unreported,” Sonam Tenzin said.

Meanwhile, during fatal accidents, labor officials check whether employees are into substance abuse, besides also looking into their compensation.

According to labor officials, the ministry also creates awareness on safety hazards and monitors the workplaces. They notify them to rectify if any safety mechanism is found unsatisfactory. The ministry also penalizes employers who defy notices. Still people are yet to understand about safety practices at workplaces. Unlike a few companies, workplace safety is not much concerned so far with not much fatal incidences.

Labor officials also added that the ministry gives awards to companies after assessing OHS at their work places and safety regulation on World Safety Day annually on March 18.

“Eliminating the risks at workplaces is considered important where the use of safety equipments is least required. If the risk is eliminated, then the use of personal protection equipments would be least; thereby saving the costs for employers,” Sonam Tenzin said.

Meanwhile, a labor contractor in Phuentsholing said some laborers at the sites don’t bother safety gears because of the weather.

“During hot days, they don’t use gloves and helmet even if employers provide. But they use them at risky environment,” labor contractor Nobiul Islam said.

“The laborers are provided helmets, gloves, boots and dress. Also, those equipments like gloves and gumboots wear off after constant use and the employers then don’t provide. We assure safety for them as it is a burden for us if any mishap happens,” he added.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing