UAE's new workplace health and safety standards 'will attract more skilled workers'

DUBAI// New standards of workplace health and safety brought in this year will reduce accidents and unsafe working procedures, and attract more skilled workers to the country.

Steps being taken to ­improve standards have been discussed at the first national forum for safety and occupational health in Dubai.

A tightening of employment protocols and improved reporting of injuries at work will highlight weak spots in need of attention to improve workers’ rights and professional health.

“There will be a new registration procedure for all workplace-related ­accidents and cases of injuries,” said Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for public policy and licensing at the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

“If you don’t provide employees with a healthy and safe working environment, we know their productivity can be reduced by as much as 45 per cent.

“A new public health law, Article 22, will show improvements to standards of working conditions to ensure health and safety of all workers in all sectors.”

Areas listed for improvement include environmental conditions such as working in high temperatures or humidity, and exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, viruses or parasites.

The latest health and safety diktat will also consider social effects on workers that may hamper their productivity and well-being, such as accommodation, relationships with colleagues and employees or other psychological pressures that may inhibit mental health.

“We started to develop a guide on occupational health and safety three years ago,” said Dr Ayesha Suhail, director of primary health care at the health ministry.

“It is now compulsory for companies to develop a health and safety guide for the nature of any job.

“Our mandate was to come up with a guide to ensure standards are met and complied with in a working environment.”

Representatives of government and private bodies, international and local experts, doctors and technicians have been taking part in workshops to discuss safety standards, their implications and costs of occupational diseases and accidents.

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