To prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 in the Department of Public Works and Highway’s (DPWH) construction projects, the said government agency has issued Department Order No 39: Revised Construction Safety Guidelines for the Implementation of all DPWH Infrastructure Projects during the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis.

In areas under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) construction projects such as: facilities for isolation and quarantine of persons under monitoring and investigation, and confirmed Covid-19 cases; facilities for health care workers; facilities for construction workers handling emergency, flood control, and other disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation work; facilities for sewerage, water services, digital works; priority public infrastructure projects; and priority private infrastructure projects including facilities for food production, agriculture, fisheries, energy, housing, communication, water utilities, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing will be allowed to operate.

For areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), other essential and priority projects, in addition to those mentioned above will be allowed to operate. Small-scale projects or those intended for private and personal use will not be allowed under the MECQ.

All public and private construction projects shall be allowed in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Any person below 21 years old and above 60 years old, those with immune deficiencies, co-morbidities, or other health risks, pregnant women, and 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.

The “Prior to Deployment Procedures” include a 14-day quarantine or Covid-19 testing as prescribed by the Department of Health for all qualified workers. They may also be retested as necessary. Heads of the Implementing Office will issue the Construction Quarantine Pass to all qualified workers of concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. The Quarantine Pass must clearly state the identification, designation, nature of work, validity, and destination of the worker. This pass covers the transit of workers to and from areas under different types of quarantine.  

Concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers shall provide for their workers welfare facilities and amenities which includes accommodation and proper hygiene in compliance to the physical distancing requirements.  All projects must be 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. Adequate food, safe/potable drinking water, disinfectants, and hand soaps shall be made available by the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to their in-house personnel.

Disinfection facilities must be provided in strategic location in all project sites in compliance with pertinent DOH and IATF Guidelines. Safety officers must provide sufficient information and education regarding Covid-19 prevention and control protocols on top of existing construction safety and health practices.

During deployment, an inventory of works for the construction sequencing to be followed must be conducted to maintain physical distancing. Breaks must be taken in a staggered manner.

Employees shall remain 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 while the project is on-going, the “Prior to Deployment” procedures shall be conducted at every instance of re-entry. Those sent to run  errands outside the site premises will be undergo disinfection procedures and will be monitored for symptoms for 14 days upon re-entry.

Field offices, employees’ quarters, and other common areas shall be disinfected daily. Daily monitoring of the pre and post-work health conditions of workers including temperature, health, and exposure shall be undertaken by the concessionaires, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. Personnel with COVID-19 symptoms shall be immediately isolated and quarantined for 14 days and if necessary, brought to the nearest DOH COVID-19 treatment facility under strict confidentiality and privacy.

A sufficient number of qualified safety officers must be assigned at all project sites to ensure strict compliance with the DOLE D.O. No. 13, Series of 1998 and the DTI and DOLE Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19.  Sharing of construction and office equipment is discouraged. However, if necessary, the shared equipment must be disinfected in between transfers among personnel.

The delivery and disposal of all materials and equipment shall be conducted by a specific team of personnel on an isolated loading/unloading zone with limited contact with delivery/disposal personnel. All materials and equipment must be disinfected before entering the construction site.

 All personnel entering the construction site premises on a temporary basis (i.e. delivery truck drivers, inspectors, etc.) shall be properly logged and checked for symptoms. Non-essential personnel will not be allowed to enter the construction site, employees’ quarters, and field offices. Gathering, drinking of liquor and merry making activities are strictly prohibited.

END/ DJ Romero