Occupational safety authority soon

DUBAI - Realising the need for enhancing the occupational safety in the country's establishments in line with the international labour standards, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs officials will start working today on practical measures towards the establishment of a national occupational safety authority that was endorsed earlier by the UAE Cabinet. An expert from the International labour Organisation (ILO) will help provide the technical support and advise on setting up the authority.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 10 Jan 2004, 12:09 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:20 AM

Dr Khalid Al Khazraji, the ministry's Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, said that the visit of the expert, Nabeel Wadfa, from the ILO office in Beirut came in line with the implementation of a memorandum of understanding signed earlier with the ILO.

Under the MoU, a team of experts will be visiting the country to study the work environment in the UAE and evaluate the occupational safety and security precautions, rehabilitate the industrial establishments to enable them to provide sufficient and adequate protection for their workers, and discuss the issue of pollution at work place, the impact of high temperature on workers' health and performance especially in summer, and so on.

Salem Ali Al Muhairi, Director of the ministry's Foreign Relations Department, said that Mr Wadfa would stay in the country for four days and his visit would pave the way for the ILO team, as he would draft a vision for the development of the occupational safety in the country and pass it on to the expert to implement it.

"The expert will meet Dr Al Khazraji this morning and the team of the ministry comprising representatives from the departments of labour inspection and labour relations. He will later meet representatives of the government bodies concerned with occupational safety, such as the Dubai Municipality, the civil defence and the Ministry of Health," Mr Al Muhairi said. He said that the visiting expert had earlier participated in a number of training courses and workshops for the ministry's inspectors.

At present the ministry has practically one labour inspector specialised in occupational safety. This is the reason why the sector needs massive development. Moreover, the country is lagging behind as far as maintenance of international standards of occupational safety is concerned.

According to Mr Al Muhairi this was one of the reasons why the country did not sign the ILO convention on occupational safety. "Once a signatory, the implementation becomes compulsory and part of the biding legislations."

Besides, the signing of the convention will be costly for employers, employees and the government, because the improvement of the safety standards at workplace requires laboratories, doctors, experts and involves lots of expenses. "By setting up a specialised authority for occupational safety, the work environment at industrial establishments and security and safety precautions will improve, thereby making it easier for the country to sign the relevant convention," he said.

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