x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Safety officers will be required at Dubai work sites

Dubai Municipality will require construction firms and industrial companies to train and accredit safety officers, a move aimed at reducing accidents at work sites.

Most of the accidents, including scaffolding collapses, were at construction sites.
Most of the accidents, including scaffolding collapses, were at construction sites.

DUBAI // Construction and industrial companies in Dubai will soon have to train and accredit workers to become safety officers.

Last year, nearly 50 workers died and more than 400 were injured in the emirate.

Yesterday, Dubai Municipality said it would require companies to train employees and obtain certification as part of new regulations.

These are due to take effect from the end of this year, even though the number of accidents has fallen.

“We have had an almost 12 per cent drop in accidents and 10.6 per cent drop in injuries,” said Redha Salman, director of the municipality’s public health and safety department. “These are the accidents that Dubai Municipality investigated and were reported to us on work sites, mostly construction sites.”

He added that the number of deaths had fallen by 34 per cent from 2010, when there were 76.

Most of the accidents, including scaffolding collapses, were at construction sites. In January, two workers died and nine were injured when scaffolding at a Dubailand site collapsed on them.

Mr Salman was speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

His department increased inspections of construction and industrial sites last year. It carried out 22,500 inspections last year, up from 14,600 in 2010.

Yesterday, officials said the new safety officer accreditation programme would mean even fewer workplace injuries. Under the scheme, some staff members would have to get specialised training and accreditation to monitor workplace safety.

“This is not for all companies. There will be a certain criteria. If they have a certain number of workers, they will require this,” said Raed Mohamed Al Marzouqi, the head of the occupational health and safety section at the municipality’s public health and safety section.

The municipality said implementation of the programme would depend on the number of employees, risk potential, workplace conditions and the technology used by each company.

The number of safety officers would depend on the size of the company. Their backgrounds, qualifications and competence would be verified as part of their accreditation.

Mr Al Marzouqi said preparing officers to handle emergencies was in the interest of the company.

“Accidents cause a burden on companies in terms of insurance costs, liabilities and worker compensations,” he said.

Also yesterday, the municipality urged developers to get their sites inspected by certified companies to prevent accidents.

The municipality has accredited 35 companies to carry out the inspections, including monitoring scaffolds and other equipment on work sites, she said.

pkannan@thenational.ae