Hot on the tracks: BWI and ADB hold inspection of Philippine railway project amid sweltering heat

In the week of Workers' Memorial Day, BWI and one of its Philippine affiliates, the National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW), conducted a joint inspection with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) of the Malalos-Clark Railway Project. The site visits occurred during the country's warmest season, with temperatures reaching up to 47.7 degrees. This prompted thorough discussions on procedures for working in extreme heat, the necessity of work stoppages when temperatures become hazardous, and the adequacy of provided living accommodations and resting areas in protecting workers from heat stress.

The mission primarily focused on reviewing construction activities and applying ADB labour rights commitments to the ILO core labor standards and national regulations. Safeguard policy commitments on health and safety were emphasised to support the implementation of the project's Environmental and Social Performance (ESP), defining roles and responsibilities regarding accommodation, occupational health and safety (OHS), and working conditions to ensure alignment with expectations from the Client, BWI, and the bank perspectives.

The three-day mission concluded with a training session at the ADB Headquarters, encompassing shared lessons learned, best practices, and knowledge on labour practices and safeguarding mechanisms. Participants included contractors from different project packages, as well as representatives of clients and key contractors for ADB projects within the Philippines. Observations from the site visits will be disseminated to other projects as examples of best practices. Simultaneously, issues identified will be addressed by the bank as part of corrective action plans formulated following the mission.