Onus of worksite safety in Dubai lies on engineers, contractors

July 30th, 2008 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, July 30 (IANS) Engineers and contractors will be responsible for the overall safety in building and other infrastructure construction sites in Dubai, according to a new safety manual. The responsibility of maintaining overall safety in a construction project lies with the consultant engineers and contractors throughout the implementation period, the ‘Safety Manual for Construction Works’ issued by the building department of Dubai Municipality stated.

This responsibility also extends to buildings close to the construction site and any other public facility that may be affected by the works.

“They (the consultant engineers and contractors) are also responsible for the safety of all employees and those present at the site or close to it,” a Dubai Municipality statement said.

The new manual outlines general and specific safety procedures for all types of construction and demolition works and associated jobs.

“This manual includes a set of rules that will help construction firms adopt the best practices in ensuing safety at construction sites,” Essa Al Maiour, assistant director general for planning and building affairs at the Dubai Municipality, said in the statement.

“It can be used as a reference for regulating the working conditions in construction projects for all employees who work with contractors or sub-contractors,” he added.

A huge number of the 700,000 expatriate Indian population in Dubai work as contract labourers in the construction industry.

Overall, Indians workers comprise 42.5 percent of the total labour force in the construction industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 65 percent of them are in the blue-collar category.

According to Al Maidour, the new safety manual forms part of the set of legislations currently being passed by Dubai Municipality with the objective of introducing a complete legal framework in line with the municipality’s Strategic Plan 2007-2011.

This will result in producing a set of the most important legislation documents for the emirate of Dubai.

“In designing this manual, many of the safety standards existing in the advanced and developing nations were referred to,” Al Maidour said, while pointing out that the manual becomes all the more relevant as the industry faced unprecedented and difficult challenges.

Releasing statistics, the assistant director general said that in the past four years, of the total number of accidents at construction sites, most occurred due to negligence of safety practices.

Falling from heights constituted 45 percent of the 865 accidents that occurred during 2004-07.

Other types of accidents were collapses at work sites (23 percent), accidents involving cranes and other machinery (14 percent) and fire and electric shock (7 percent).

Last year, there were a total of 249 worksite accidents in which 47.8 percent were falling from heights.

The new manual includes a set of rules, which regulate construction projects carried out in Dubai. It also stipulates in at least four chapters stringent safety measures for preventing such accidents.

The manual outlines general safety rules and clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the employers, consultant engineers, contractors and sub-contractors with regard to safety issues.

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