UAE’s Need for Health and Safety Consultancy Is On the Rise
In February 2016, the Gulf News reported that a 25-year-old labourer had to get his hand amputated after a hand injury at his workplace in Sharjah. Heart-breaking as it is, this is just one minor example of health and safety hazards that occur at workplaces.
Risks tend to follow us anywhere and everywhere. Desk-workers are likely to take things lightly as the danger stands more obviously for those working at an oil rig or a construction site. However, the implementation of workplace health and safety foundation starts in boardroom meetings and stretches to cover all domains of workplaces.
The Willis Towers Watson 2015/16 Staying@Work survey reveals that Gulf-based companies consider occupational health and safety (OHS) a serious priority. 63% of the respondent organisations agree that workplace health and safety needed improvement or maintenance.
Despite this, Safety Media highlights that 69% of the construction companies in Dubai lack proper comprehension of occupational health and safety. It also reports only 18% of the construction companies uphold regular training pertaining to workplace health and safety.
The rising needs of health and safety standards in the UAE
Several factors contribute to the rise in UAE’s need for health and safety consultancy. The spiralling growth of consultancy services primarily corresponds with the increase in workplace accidents.
These occupational hazards have snowballed in recent times. The main reasons include the expansion of Dubai into a development centre and a mixed workforce posing challenges in the practice of occupational health and safety policies. Additionally, stricter legislative steps are also welcoming health and safety consultancy.
Here is an overview of each of these factors:
Developmental growth of Dubai
It was long ago that UAE brought to mind a nomadic way of life that sprung in the heart of a desert. In only a short span of time, the country has grown into a trade hub with numerous workplaces dotting the horizon.
Such a steady development has set the foundation for workplace health and safety measures. Labour forces work at breakneck speed to keep pace with these developments. However, this chips in more to the need of occupational health and safety. In fact, construction accidents rank second only to road incidents in UAE’s critical emergency cases.
Maisaa Nasrallah, chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Iosh), observes the growing number of workplace accidents. She notes, “In the UAE, we are fortunate to be working in an environment with an ever-growing skyline, but extensive developments bring occupational health and safety challenges.”
A 2012 research paper points out that Dubai’s diverse workforce also poses a unique challenge for the workplace health and safety in the country. OHS in Dubai is complex owing to its religiously, socially, educationally, and culturally diverse work population. This is evident in the population matrix mix of the country that shows the Emirati and expatriates ratio stands at 1 to 9.
This sets up communication barriers in explaining and training for workplace health and safety. On top of it, there is a dearth of awareness surrounding the practice of occupational health and safety. Surprisingly, 71% of the employees are unable to report workplace accidents in the country.
Prevalence of workplace accidents
In addition to these pointers, the number of workplace accidents in UAE is swelling. A 2009 study focused on workplace accidents in Al Ain city. It found out that between March 2003-April 2005 there were 615 cases of injuries that resulted in hospitalization.
Furthermore, the Health Authority- Abu Dhabi (Haad) confirmed that there were 101 fatal workplace accidents in the capital in 2010. The source also stated that 75 workers tasted the sand while working in 2010, which is 10% rise from 2008. Of those who died, only 3% were Emirati, whereas, the rest were migrants.
UAE’s Labour Law has become strict over time. It holds employers responsible for any workplace injuries or disease contracts at work. The employers are liable for occupational injuries even without any apparent fault at their part. There are only a few exceptions to this case such as an employer’s conduct.
The Labour Law holds employers responsible for paying compensation in the event of any accidents. For instance, in the case of an accident and subsequent death or serious injury like paralysis, the employer is to provide maximum compensation that ranges between AED 18,000 to AED 35,000. This is only just one leaf from the legal book though.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation also requires companies to submit a labour injuries report on time. Any delays result in penalties.
The need for health and safety consultancy in UAE
All these factors set up the need for health and safety consultancy in Dubai. The need also swells as the concern for OHS mushrooms in the country. Health hazards can only be handled by professionals in the field. These experts also bring to light the health and safety policy regulation and execution in workplaces.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), occupational health and safety covers all the health and safety concerns in a workplace. The primary focus is on keeping hazards at bay to bring down the number of occupational accidents.
Essentially, OHS boasts an extensive scope that is best handled by well-versed health and safety consultants that have the technical know-how of handling these matters. Ordosafe Consultants tend to fit well in this definition of experts that concentrate on all crucial aspects of OHS.
The standard of workplace health and safety standards has markedly improved in the country in the past decade. However, there is still room for improvement. Ordosafe Consultants not only provide consultancy services but also offer training services as well course for bettering OHS.
Conclusively, the legal noose concerning workplace health and safety is tightening around organisations. At the same time, challenges to OHS grow unabated. With such a background in place, Ordosafe Consultants aim to provide the best workplace health and safety consultancy to minimize occupational casualties.