Discussing opportunities to improve occupational safety and health in myanmar’s construction sector

Meeting with Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Construction to discuss opportunities for improvement of occupational and health in the construction sector in the country.

Press release | Nay Pyi Taw | 23 November 2020
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Construction, U Shwe Lay, and the ILO Vision Zero Fund Senior Technical Officer, Ms. Mariana Infante Villarroel, held a virtual meeting to discuss opportunities for improvement of occupational and health in the construction sector in the country. The construction sector employs over 1.2 million people, which accounts for 5.5% of the working population. The COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of OSH in the sector and Permanent Secretary U Shwe Lay discussed the willingness of the Ministry of Construction to promote more safe and healthy environments in the construction sector, which will contribute to the development of Myanmar’s economy.

Virtual Meeting with Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Construction
Ms. Mariana Infante Villarroel, introduced the ILO-Vision Zero Fund project and activities, highlighting the introduction of the construction global supply chain in Phase II of the project. The new assessment of the construction value chain and current project activities, including Training of Trainers on prevention and mitigation of COVID 19 in workplaces to members of employers and workers organizations, were presented to the Ministry.  Mr. Sebastien Moineau, Consultant from Asper Consulting working for the ILO-Vision Zero Fund in the construction assessment presented the results of the first phase of the assessment, describing the complexities of the sector’s many stakeholders and subcontractors pose to adequate OSH management.
Permanent Secretary U Shwe Lay, highlighted the importance of OSH has for the ministry and the activities currently done on that regard, including promoting and achieving construction projects with zero accidents and promotions for head of projects with zero accidents. He also mentioned that the ministry is now shifting from the role of implementer to the role of regulator and welcomes the framework of the new OSH Law. As a regulating body, the ministry is trying to raise the awareness, knowledge and safety practices in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population. Permanent Secretary U Shwe Lay welcomes collaboration with ILO’s Vision Zero Fund for future activities, including guidance and TOT trainings, of which the first can be a TOT on prevention and mitigation of COVID 19 in workplaces.

Site visits for the construction assessment
Daw Mi Mi Tin, Deputy Director General of the Policy and Project Section of the Department of Urban and Housing and Development (DUHD) explained briefly the ministry’s responses and activities for COVID 19. She mentioned the ministry was able to transform three public housings into hospitals with the support of YCDC and MCEF. She highlighted the importance of OSH in low-rise buildings as these account for the majority of the urban housing landscape; therefore, the DUHD welcomes technical assistance from ILO on OSH.
The meeting concluded with the remark from Permanent Secretary U Shwe Lay, that even though this was a short exchange, this was a very fruitful discussion where participants learned a lot from each other and concrete action was agreed on COVID-19 and support to the assessment done by ILO Vision Zero Fund. “The meeting today is not only important for ILO but also very important for Ministry of Construction as well as for the entire construction industry in Myanmar; we welcome more assistance and guidance from ILO Vision Zero Fund,” he concluded.

For more information:

Daw Khin Akari Tar
National Project Coordinator
VZF Phase II project, ILO-Yangon
Email: tar@ilo.org