'Firms must ensure safety of labourers'

RAS AL KHAIMAH — A top official at the RAK Labour Department (RLD) has said that companies operating here must be responsible for protecting their workers at work sites.

By Sadiq A. Salam

Published: Thu 10 Aug 2006, 9:56 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:08 PM

The Director of RLD, Mahir Al Aoobed, said that companies should provide their labourers with "a healthy work environment to ensure their safety and well-being". "This is what has been stipulated in the UAE labour laws and regulations," he asserted.

The comments were made taking into account the accidents that take place at work sites here on a daily basis.

Almost every day, the emirate's hospitals admit many labourers, who sustain injuries or fractures and even suffer heatstrokes while working at various factories or quarries.

This newspaper has earlier carried several stories of how labourers suffer physical harm at their work sites. For instance, a worker was severely injured when he was trapped inside a cement grinder recently. Another labourer suffered paralysis when he was buried under the debris of a building under construction.

The RLD official also pointed out that the department organised routine campaigns to ensure that companies adhere to the safety laws and regulations at work sites. "Our inspectors conduct round-the-clock visits to work sites across the emirate's residential as well as industrial areas to make sure that these companies stick to labour regulations," he added.

The labour laws divide occupational accidents into various categories and specify a certain compensation for each of them. For this, a detailed medical report has to be issued by a government healthcare facility, the official said.

He also called for the establishment of a joint mechanism by the RLD, the RAK Medical Zone (RMZ) and the RAK Civil Defence Department (RCDD) to tackle such issues. "This body should be responsible for informing us about all the occupational damages so that we would be able to protect the legal rights of workers," he said.

Although the RAK emirate is considered to be one of the main industrial hubs in the UAE, the RMZ has no specialised occupational health section.

Al Aoobed also asked workers to report to the department concerned all cases of deviation from safety norms at work sites. "It is not really possible for any government department to spot all cases of deviation from the occupational health laws and regulations unless workers cooperate with us in this regard," he added.

Colonel Mohammed Jabir Al Noaimi, acting director of the RCDD, has asked companies to take prior permission from the department concerned before starting operations in new construction sites.

"We make certain that all safety measures have been put in place before work commences," he added.

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