The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is at the forefront of enhancing occupational and workplace health and safety standards, marking a significant step forward in the region's commitment to fostering safer workplaces and sustainable industries
Speaking ahead of the Intersec 2024 Safety & Health Conference, taking place from 16 – 18 January at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Dr Waddah S Ghanem Al Hashmi, chairman of the Energy Institute Middle East and chairman, Federal Occupational Health and Safety Committee and HoD to the TC283 ISO 45001, highlighted that the UAE, along with the broader Middle East, has made substantial strides in developing frameworks and practices for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
Notably, sectors like energy, manufacturing, and aviation showcase advanced systems, while others, like construction, are steadily improving.
In December 2022, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology released the voluntary UAE.S 5052:2022 standard, aligning with ISO 45001:2019 and focusing on governance and leadership's top management requirements. This standard aims to strengthen leadership engagement in OHS within organisations.
Dr Al Hashmi said, “These updated standards are expected to drive a shift from mere compliance to a culture of value creation and sustainability. Greater leadership involvement will elevate OHS performance and employee engagement and foster a reduction in incidents across industries. I believe this standard will eventually be adopted internationally, and I see positive thinking developing in the region.”
Meanwhile, also speaking ahead of Intersec 2024, Dr Hani Hossni, CEO, ITALCO Aluminium, Umm Al Quain, emphasised the UAE's proactive stance toward continual improvement in workplace safety, aiming to set new benchmarks globally and ensure the well-being of its diverse workforce.
Specific UAE laws and regulations dedicated to workplace safety, such as NCEMA 6000-2016, Federal Decree for Employment Relationship Law 33-2021, and Ministerial Decree 32-1982, illustrate an unwavering commitment to safeguarding employee welfare.
“Businesses in the UAE prioritise adherence to safety regulations, integrating safety into corporate strategies, policies, and daily operations, demonstrating a proactive approach to ensuring a safe work environment,” highlighted Hossni.
“In addition to self-regulation, culture building, and reinforcement approaches, technological advancements, including AI-enabled safety inductions, drone usage, GIS/GPS systems, and engineering controls, play a pivotal role in preventing accidents and ensuring workplace safety.”
Through an immersive two-day programme, the Safety & Health Conference will explore the latest trends, innovative solutions, and best practices that empower organisations to champion workplace safety and well-being.