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Falls are leading cause of site fatalities: HAAD

Abu Dhabi Health Authority launches 'Height Aware' programme

53 people died from falls or falling objects in Abu Dhabi in 2011.
53 people died from falls or falling objects in Abu Dhabi in 2011.

Falls from height and falling objects are the leading cause of fatal injuries on construction sites in Abu Dhabi, according to research carried out by the Emirate’s Health Authority.

The study showed that, between 2008 and 2010, 50% of fatal occupational injuries in Abu Dhabi were the result of falls and falling objects.

Second on the list were road traffic and other transport fatalities, accounting for 29%, with the remaining 21% made up of: fire/flame, hot substance, 5%; other, 4%; electricity, 4%; suffocation 3%; drowning, 3%; machinery, 1%; and poisoning, less than 1%.

According to statistics produced by the authority for 2011, there were 71 cases of occupational fatalities in the Emirate, 53 of which were from falls and falling objects, which is over 74.6% of the total.

In response to the fatalities, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, launched ita 'Height Aware' programme at the Shagri-la hotel in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday morning.

Speaking at a press conference on behalf of HAAD CEO H.E. Zaid Al Siksek, Dr. Omniyat Al Hajri, director of public health and policy division at HAAD, said: “Occupational health and safety is one of the major public health challenges and strategic health priorities for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

"The 'Height Aware' programme aims to decrease occupational fatalities due to falls and falling objects by 5% annually compared to baseline 2008-2011 through a safer and healthier environment for Abu Dhabi residents,” said Al Hajri.

The programme supports employers in complying with the requirements of the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Management System. It is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Centre and Ministry of Labour.

It is also designed to target occupational health and safety professionals, supervisors and workers, and contains information and details of procedures designed to give guidance for safe work practices when working at height.

Darren Joubert, senior officer at the Health, Safety and Environment Department at HAAD, said: “Registering for the HAAD 'Height Aware' programme and using the free resources available will assist both employees and workers to practice safe work at height, and prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities."

Topics covered by the programme include: the risks of working at height, preventing the risks, best-practice guidelines, safety-harness systems and emergency rescue procedures.

For more information on the 'Height Aware' programme, visit www.haad-height.ae.

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