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British firms seek support for Dubai safety scheme

UK consultants and contractors working in Dubai are setting up a Contractors Competence Scheme (CCS) to try and minimise accidents and injuries on sites.
The move, led by consultant EC Harris and contractor Bovis Lend Lease, aims to raise the overall standard of site safety if adopted. Participants could then present their safety credentials to clients.Aziz Zerban from EC Harris is leading the scheme, and has support from around a dozen contractors and has approached the Dubai municipality. 'We will present the scheme at a public meeting in August or September, and see what appetite there is,' he said.Contractors would be audited, to examine their attitudes to health and safety and how effectively these policies are translated on site. 'We have experience (of health and safety auditing) in the UK, and we are looking to see if it is applicable here, to see if it would help the process,' said project manager at EC Harris Mike Cairney.The move comes as Dubai reviews its new health and safety law which it has delayed introducing until the end of the year (see NCE 3 May). One consultant remarked that clients - generally the Duabi municipality - have been very sensitive to recent press interest in site accidents. 'A spat of incidents has been the movement for change. As a contractor, if you have an incident, you will now have very close scrutiny.'More than 2,000 contracting engineers and sub-contractors are thought to be working in Dubai. 'The larger international contractors have operated the best H&S records - it is not them having the difficulties,' said one consultant.He admitted that it could, 'take time to convince clients, but people should not underestimate the powers of the ruling family, who are striving to have attitudes changed.'

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