Negligent engineers to be banned

Engineers guilty of professional negligence will face a ban as well as consequences under the law, the Myanmar Engineering Council has announced.

MEC assistant secretary U Aung Myint told The Myanmar Times that officials would investigate any accident that occurred on a building site and would be prepared to take action if the certified site engineer was responsible.

Many sites do not employ a professional engineer (PE), the highest category certified by the MEC. “No PE was employed on the site of a building in Mandalay when people were killed by a scaffolding collapse. Construction projects today require very high standards. A company that undertakes such projects without a qualified responsible engineer is negligent,” said U Myint Aung.

The scaffolding gave way in June at the construction site of the Mandalay Pullman Hotel, killing two workers and injuring 18 people. Such accidents are relatively common in Myanmar but this incident, which was widely discussed on social media, prompted officials and experts to consider upgrading the regulatory framework behind workplace safety.

The MEC grants licences to engineers at three grades, of which PE is the highest. A PE can work on a building of any height. The lower category of licence-holder, an RSE (registered senior engineer), is licensed to work on buildings of up to eight storeys.

An engineer can apply for a registered engineer licence, the lowest category, four years after qualifying. A registered engineer with two years’ experience at that level can sit for an RSE licence, and after a year at that level can apply for a PE licence. More than 260 PE licences have been granted, and another 3000 are under consideration, the council said.

Rules on workplace safety are currently based on the 1951 Factory Act. While the ministries of labour and construction have been drafting a “Health and Safety in the Workplace” law since 2012, it has not yet been submitted to parliament.

There are few statistics available on occupational safety in Myanmar, though the Myanmar Engineering Society has plans to record statistics on worker accidents in the future, vice president Daw Si Si Than previously told The Myanmar Times.

Source: Myanmar Times

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