Study finds safety poor on KSA sites

A new report has claimed a lack of safety standards in Saudi Arabia's construction industry.

Better training
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A new report has claimed a lack of safety standards in Saudi Arabia's construction industry.

Husain Al Omani, a project manager for Ali A Tamani Company, has released his study, 'Improving Safety Performance at Construction Sites in Saudi Arabia'. Al Omani is a safety expert whose job is to visit construction sites to check that workers are being looked after on site.

During 2005 and 2006 he visited numerous sites across Saudi Arabia to conduct his survey.

Among his findings were that some 25% of contractors did not give new workers orientation; 25% did not provide personal protective equipment; 25% did not provide first aid kits on site; and 38% had no trained safety personnel. His survey also compared accident figures in the UK with those in Saudi Arabia.

In the UK in 2005, there were 3,760 injuries to workers and 28 deaths. In the same year in Saudi there were 102,259 injuries and 493 deaths.

Al Omani said there were laws in Saudi Arabia to protect workers but some contractors, mainly the smaller ones, were flouting them. He told Construction Week: "One of my tasks is to monitor safety performance during the life of the project and I also make many visits to the site to see the safety situation. I have found some workers working without safety shoes, I could not believe it.

I made my inspection and discussed with them, and actually I was fighting and shouting with the contractor. I told him: ‘If you treat staff in this way I will never accept you as a contractor because you will affect our reputation in the market.

Al Omani said many contractors needed to realise that safety standards on site would affect the profitability of the project.

He said: "The main reason is that safety education in small contractors does not really exist.

"There is very poor safety education about how it will affect the performance of the project or of the operations.

Al Omani said: "I know that the number of accidents in Saudi Arabia is a lot higher than other countries in the GCC, even though most of them are not perfect.

"The government employees should make surprise visits to the site to make sure that safety standards are met. There should be co-operation between the government and the private sector because you cannot consider them separately as many are semi-government companies.

He is also calling for better training for workers, mandatory supplies of safety equipment and improvements of safety on construction sites.

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