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Time to Get Serious about Health & Safety

July 29, 2018



Wherever you look in Dubai there are huge cranes on the skyline. Building, although slowed during 2008 – 2011 period, has continued at a pace. But, has the take up or improvement in all aspects of Health and Safety followed suit?


There have been a number of studies conducted in the construction industry with regards to Health and Safety performance within the UAE. These make interesting reading for anyone in the construction industry (See list of references at the bottom of the article).


Having read through each, it is quite amazing the continued lack of Health and Safety within the UAE construction sector. In an environment of continued growth, not just markets, but buildings and infrastructure, where the majority of the Expat Population of the UAE (88.52% of the total population – Global Media Insight 2018) are within the construction sector. The Gulf News stated on 19th January 2018 that there were more than 500,000 labourers working in Dubai alone!


In 2009, the Gulf News stated that the number of construction related deaths in Dubai had been reduced, 46 workers killed and 181 injured, compared to 50 fatalities and 177 injuries in 2007. This was when there were 800,000 people involved in construction.


In Freshfieds Bruckhaus Deringer findings in 2014 they stated that 69% of construction companies have a serious lack of understanding of Health and Safety policy importance. Most small construction companies as well as the majority of medium sized construction companies do not have a written Health and Safety Policy.


Accidents and deaths in the construction sector is costly, not just to the family, to which it could be devastating, but financially to the construction company and owners of the building.  Investing today in Health and Safety is looking at maintaining a happy and safe workforce, and at the bottom line!


The new ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System could seriously reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities in the work-space. It provides a solid foundation to assess Risk in the workspace, provide clear and precise guidelines at all levels, instigates Risk Management at all levels and shows the managements’ commitment to workers safety.


To find out more on how ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety can be implemented and embedded in your company email: or visit our website:


1 fatality is 1 too many!


Reference Material:

  • Construction Safety Performance in the United Arab Emirates by Noura Al-Kaabi 2002

  • Health and Safety Influence on the construction project performance in United Arab Emirates by Shibani et al 2012

  • Human Rights Watch (November 2006 and 2012)

  • Gulf News

  • Middle East Annual Conference – Managing Liability for Worksite Accidents – Jeremie Witt & Antonia Deringer










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