x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Laws exist to protect cradle workers

Stringent federal laws are already in place for the operation of cradles.

Stringent federal laws are already in place for the operation of cradles.

In an interview with The National earlier this year regarding a similar incident in Sharjah where four workers died, Brian Florance, the operations manager of Malt Techniques, which installs and manages cradles in Dubai, said the equipment had to undergo several checks before it is used.

"There are design criteria, installation criteria and safety regulations for working at heights," he said.

After a cradle is received, law dictates that an independent safety company be called out to inspect the equipment and issue a safety certificate. This certificate must be presented to the appropriate emirate's municipality before an authorisation certificate can be issued.

Furthermore, any worker in the cradle is expected to wear a safety harness and an independent "lifeline" rope that is attached separately to the building.

These secondary lifelines are worn so that, in the event of a cradle giving way, the workers are kept suspended in the air.

"In a normal cradle, they have two people and independent safety points," said Mr Florance. "The cradle is attached to the structure and they are attached independently to the structure."

Picture evidence supplied by Dubai Police of the accident shows that both workers were wearing yellow safety harnesses at the time.

A full investigation is expected to reveal whether the workers' harnesses were attached to lifelines, and whether these lifelines were correctly attached to the building.

* With reporting by Eugene Harnan