New health tests for construction workers

New health tests for construction workers

DUBAI — Blue-collared male workers from the construction industry will be required to undergo medical tests related to their profession upon renewing their residency visas.


Asma Ali Zain

Published: Fri 17 Feb 2012, 12:37 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:39 PM

Officials stress that results from the tests will not affect the workers’ residency status but will instead push companies to provide timely treatment to them.

Workers in 22 construction-related categories, including masons, carpenters, painters and electricians among several others, will be required to undergo the tests that will be carried out at the recently-opened occupational health clinic at Al Baraha Hospital.

Health reports will then be sent to their sponsors who may then decide — after being advised by experts from the clinic — if a worker is fit enough to resume duty or not. The advice will stress on timely treatment.

The new rule currently applies to workers who undergo medical fitness tests at the UAE health ministry’s preventive medicine departments to obtain residency visas for the Northern Emirates. It is not clear that whether the rule will apply to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which have their own health authorities.

Health officials said that the clinic, which is the first specialised clinic for labourers’ health at the ministry, provides early screening for profession-related diseases.

“The clinic is operational and we started a trial period last week,” said Dr Afra Ahmed bin Zaal, Director of the Preventive Medicine Department in Dubai Medical District.

“We do not want to create problems for workers and that is why only those renewing their visas will be checked,” she said.

“Companies should ensure that the worker is treated on time because what he is suffering from is because of his profession,” she added. The clinic also offers free medical checkups for vision, hearing, as well as ECG tests.

A federal law on occupational health and safety and work regulations for the construction sector, that is expected to offer wider protection to the workers, is also being readied.

As per procedure, the worker will first be examined at a medical fitness centre for infectious diseases and only specific cases will be referred to the occupational health clinic for a more detailed checkup related to his profession.

“The concerned company will be informed of each patient’s case through a detailed report prepared by the occupational health clinic doctor,” said Dr Afra.

The clinic will also help set up a database for occupational diseases and train both medical and nursing staff. A number of such clinics will soon be opened all over the country, said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policies at the ministry. The tests would be conducted free of cost by the health ministry.


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