UK engineers this week called for stricter enforcement of health and safety regulations in Dubai blaming this for the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) poor accident rate.
The comments came in the wake of two serious accidents last month that according to official records killed three people and injured 39.'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 at the moment is based on international labour law, but rules are not followed. Life is cheap,' he said.New safety regulations are about to be introduced in the UEA that many hope will improve site safety for labourers. The government will announce 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 policy, said it is 'under signature at the heath department in Dubai'. He confirmed that the new regulations will be adapted from the US Occupational Safety & Health Act 2001.However, sources told NCE
that the existing legislation was adequate. The problem, they said, lies with a lack of enforcement and new regulations would make no difference.According to a report by Mafiwasta, which campaigns for workers' rights, 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 from Human Rights Watch believes that contractors should do more and take the lead on improving safety. 'As giant projects are initiated those behind them should insist on access to development and not rely on local authorities. They must have the rights of the worker written into the contracts,' he said.