Expo 2020 Dubai: Safety of workers is paramount, says spokesperson

Dubai - Over 247 million work hours have been completed since September 2015 by more than 200,000 workers from around the world


Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 3 Oct 2021, 4:20 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Oct 2021, 4:22 PM

Workers are at the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai and their safety is paramount, the Expo spokesperson said during a recent media briefing.

Sconaid McGeachin said protecting the welfare of those working to build the site has been the top priority.

“We’ve shown what safety procedures are there that we’ve taken into account and how we follow through on that," she said. "It is something that we take very seriously from our side. This was something from the very start that Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, (UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai) was committed to ensuring that we have the best working conditions.”

McGeachin added that there have been instances where contractors have been held accountable, not only for neglecting workers' safety on site, but also for unethical recruitment practices.

"We have taken steps to ensure that those have been addressed and intervened. This is something that’s been very close to our hearts to ensure that we were looking after our workers. For us, workers who’ve built this site have been absolutely integral. I am sure you agree that this site is absolutely amazing and we could have only delivered this exceptional Expo based on the workers’ contribution," she said.

The Worker Welfare Assurance Standards, which are bound into every contract, set down both the UAE law and requirements formulated from international best practices as required by Expo 2020.

The specific standards around accommodation and sanitary facilities, working hours, rest time and protection from work-related accidents, hazards and illnesses are outlined in detail in the Expo 2020 Assurance Standards.

More than 247 million work hours have been completed since September 2015 by more than 200,000 workers from around the world.

Bearing this in mind, the Expo 2020 Dubai team has also paid a touching tribute to the workers who helped bring the event to life by constructing a Workers’ Monument, which was unveiled on the first full day of the World Fair on October 1.

The emotive structure, which is an expression of the incredible achievement and spirit of all the workers from around the world, has been designed by the celebrated London-based architect Asif Khan. Every worker's name is carved into stone structures.

Expo 2020 has also developed the Workers’ Portrait Series, which features striking images capturing the diversity of the Expo workforce, complemented by their own inspiring quotes, and highlighting their aspirations for the future.

Mandatory vaccination for Expo 2020 staff

As the world battled the Covid-19 pandemic, the Expo team worked quickly to implement a far-reaching programme of precautionary measures across the entire site.

The Worker Welfare team liaised closely with contractors to support the implementation of widespread vaccination programmes across their workforce.

“If you are on site, you have to be vaccinated, that is mandatory. We’ve had some staff who haven’t been able to get vaccinated and they are not on site. It is paramount to be vaccinated…not just the Expo staff, but even our international participants and all retail staff have to be inoculated," McGeachin said.

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