An award-winning perspective

In just over a week's time, the winners of this year's Construction Week awards will be announced.

COMMENT, Business

In just over a week's time, the winners of this year's Construction Week awards will be announced.

The awards will celebrate the best performers in construction, engineering and design over the last year, and will be an occasion to reflect on how far the Middle East's development plan has progressed.

One category that has gathered momentum in the last few years has been health and safety.

We'll be keeping the winning contractor a secret until the night - but it is a category that has seen the biggest number of nominations this year.

Again, some of the major contractors are chasing the award, but we have also seen some new entrants.

On one hand, this indicates a growing awareness of - and adherance to - health and safety. This is exemplified by the recently formed BuildSafeDubai, a group that champions worker safety and works to improve standards, which has attracted many of the big-name contractors.

But while an award and campaigning groups can go far in prompting change, they are by no means a reason for construction companies to rest on their laurels and think their job is done.

The most stringent safety measures might be in place - and a company could have a string of projects boasting ‘no site accidents' - but as the fatal accident at an under-construction bridge in Dubai Marina last week shows, it doesn't take much for luck to run out.

Contractors constantly face new and difficult challenges as the region's infrastructure is put under increasing strain by new projects and a growing population.

And as more projects come on line, the pressure to get jobs done in record-breaking time is exacerbated.

With this comes the necessity to keep up to speed with the changing health and safety requirements needed for much more complex structures.

Maintaining site safety is not simply a case of deploying more inspectors and issuing violation fines. In most cases, accidents are caused because of a lack of training among workers - moving forward, this is the process that will need continual monitoring and modification.

Winning an award is all very well, but the construction industry should never lose sight of what's really important: safeguarding human life.

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Latest Issue

Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020