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Serious about safety? Not serious enough

Serious about safety? Not serious enough

New efforts are being made to encourage UAE companies to make their workplaces safer. But Sam Potter thinks that businesses probably need a bit more than ‘encouragement.’

June 27, 2010 12:44 by

Sunday’s National newspaper reports on new efforts in the UAE to confront health and safety at work.

“One might think safety at work is a given in a modern economy such as the UAE,” says the article. “But office buildings and construction sites can be hazardous, with accidents in the workplace the second most common cause of injury in the country after those on the roads.”

No kidding they can be dangerous, and I don’t think there is a single person in the UAE who believes safety at work is a given. We can all see with our own eyes the incredibly dangerous environment in which construction laborers toil, we’ve all witnessed instances of risky behavior at work, and we’ve all read stories of employees injured at work in the papers. Any idea that safety at work here is a given is grossly misplaced.

The good news, the paper reports, is that an Abu Dhabi organization and a UK training group are collaborating to produce awareness programs and training workshops to encourage companies to make their workplaces safer. The key is to concentrate on the most common causes of accidents, they say, and in the UAE that means construction.

“A lot of accidents are caused by very simple things, slipping and tripping,” says Richard Firth, the director of the Institute for Vocational Development, which is part of the Abu Dhabi University Knowledge Group. “It’s a real issue and we can do something about it.”

This is welcome news. At this time of year, in particular, the risks assumed by laborers are brought into sharp focus, with papers reporting increased cases of heat stroke and various campaigns launching to help workers in the heat.

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1 Comment

  1. Miss Anne Thropic on June 29, 2010 8:48 am

    A workers’ compensation system whereby the employer is liable for any workplace injury is the best solution. That gives the employer the impetus to ensure safety training at every level and they know that if there are too many accidents at work, their workers’ compensation insurance premiums will rise. Also, harsh penalties for breaching safety laws are also essential.


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