To ensure the safety of the workers working on construction sites, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) is encouraging the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Construction sites are the most hazardous places, with bamboos projected everywhere and rods and nails placed everywhere. In addition, there are cases of electrocution on the construction sites.
Though the employees issue the PPE to their workers, it’s the workers who do not want to use the PPE, which eventually leads to serious accidents and death in some cases. In the previous regulation, there is no provision where the employees are being penalized.
Therefore, knowing the need to equally hold the employees liable, the ministry has inserted new provision in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulation, wherein the employees are held accountable for not using the PPE.
The core mandate of OHS is to eliminate the risks and various hazards that takes place at the construction sites. The ministry also assesses the risks because no matter how careful the workers are, there are incidences of accidents.
Deki Tshomo from the Labour Protection Division, MoLHR said that the employers, after spending huge amount on buying the PPE gears, cannot get their employees to wear them, in the process, when accident takes place, it is not right to put the blame solely on the employers.
She said, “We are encouraging the employers to keep the record of the issue of the PPE, whereby we can hold employee responsible equally. The foreign laborers are so used to not using the PPE, and that is our biggest concern because we do not want them to get into any sorts of accidents. Our concern is for their safety.”
Provided that the employers have supplied the PPE gears with proper record, and the employees have not used, the employees are now equally liable, she said, adding that this may help in reducing the risk of accidents.
For now, the employees seem to be taking advantage because there is no provision to penalize them, but with the new provision, they will be alert and may take the initiative to use the PPE properly. After the implementation of the new provision since March 2022, the ministry penalized 2 to 3 employees for not using the PPE.
During their site visit, she said, “We usually see the PPE hanging on the walls, and some beneath the beds. That is how everything is being taken for granted. When we go for an assessment, some employees were not issued with the PPE.”
The employers, on the other hand, claim that they have issued the PPE, but there are no proper records to support their claims, which complicates everything. Behavioral change of both the parties is one big challenge, she added.
At the moment, the employees only use the PPE when they see people coming from the ministry for site inspections, she further added.