UK ENGINEERS this week called for the stricter enforcement of health and safety regulations in Dubai after two accidents last month left three dead and 39 injured.
'There needs to be more inspectors and heavier fines for those that break the rules.
Deaths on site have to be investigated by experts such as the Health & Safety Executive, not the police, ' said a senior UK engineer.
'Regulation is based on international labour law, but rules are not followed. Life is cheap, ' he said New safety regulations are about to be enforced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which many hope will improve site safety for labourers. The government is introducing a federal labour law and a Dubai municipality code of practice on 25 February.
Mohammed Ahmed from Mirdif Security & Safety, which is advising the UAE government on the regulations, said they are 'under signature at the Health Department in Dubai'. He confirmed that they will be adapted from the US Occupational Safety & Health Act 2001. But sources told NCE that the existing legislation was adequate. The problem, they said, lies with a lack of enforcement and the new regulations would not make any difference.
According to a report by Mafiasta, which campaigns for workers' rights in the UAE, there are a maximum of 130 health and safety inspectors working in Dubai.
Charity Human Rights Watch says the number should be closer to 2,000. Hadi Ghaemi, a researcher for the organisation, said contractors should take the lead on improving safety.
'As giant projects are initiated, those behind them should insist on access to development and not rely on the local authorities.
They must have the rights of the worker written into contracts, ' he said.
35 storey Fortune Tower, 18 January 2007 - two dead, 37 injured.
Scaffold collapse, Al Nahda, January 2007 - one dead, two injured.
Academic City roof collapse, 17 January 2007 - one dead, four injured.
Dubai International Airport, September 2005 - five dead, 12 injured.
Dubai Dry Dock flood, March 2002 - 22 dead, seven injured, seven 'missing'.