By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Construction workers and other employees of an infrastructure project must stay in their quarters for the duration of the project covered by the enhanced and general community quarantines (ECQ and GCQ) as a preventive measure against the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement after the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed public and private construction work and infrastructure projects during the quarantine period to help the economy.
Based on the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and read by Roque in his press briefing Monday, there shall be an inventory of works for the construction sequencing to be followed and undertaken to maintain social distancing.
Clustered and staggered deployment of employees within the construction site shall be observed. Employees should be in their respective quarters for the entire duration of the project covered by the ECQ and GCQ. Otherwise, other preventive measures shall be conducted at every instance of reentry. Break times shall be conducted in a staggered manner.
Errands to be conducted outside the construction site premises shall be kept to a minimum while the number of personnel running errands shall be limited, properly disinfected, and closely monitored for symptoms within 14 days upon re-entry.
Field offices, employees’ quarters, and other common areas shall be regularly disinfected.
Concessionaires, contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers shall provide their in–house personnel with adequate food, safe/potable drinking water, disinfectants, and hand soaps.
The health conditions of workers should be monitored daily. Personnel with symptoms relative to COVID-19 shall be quarantined for 14 days, and brought to the nearest COVID-19 treatment facility, if necessary.
Work activities shall be strictly monitored by the Safety Officer to ensure compliance with safety standards and quarantine protocols.
For government construction projects, DPWHeEngineers on-site shall ensure strict compliance with the wearing of additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). On the other hand, contractors of essential private construction projects under GCQ shall assign a safety officer to ensure the implementation of social distancing measures.
For off-site employees: quarters and transport services will be provided and disinfected regularly, before and after use.
The sharing of construction and office equipment is discouraged. However, if necessary, the shared equipment must be disinfected in between transfers.
All material and equipment delivery and disposal shall be conducted by a specific team of personnel on an isolated loading/unloading zone and shall be duly disinfected, as possible. Proper waste disposal shall be provided for infectious waste such as PPEs and other waste products coming from outside the construction premises.
Non-essential personnel will not be allowed to enter the construction site, employees’ quarters, and field offices. All personnel entering the site premises on a temporary basis shall be properly logged and checked for symptoms.
Gatherings, liquors, and/or merrymaking are strictly prohibited within the construction site premises.
Over the weekend, Roque announced that the following construction works are allowed: quarantine and isolation facilities, emergency work, climate mitigation projects like flood control, disaster risk control, and rehabilitation, and sewerage projects, water service facility projects, and digital works, among others.
Priority infrastructure projects, as well as priority private infrastructure projects related to the following, are also allowed in accordance with the guidelines issued by the DPWH:
food production, agriculture, fishery, energy, housing, communication, water facilities, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing
The IATF also exempted construction workers accredited by the DPWH from quarantine restrictions so they can go to the project site.