Five minutes with Daousser Chennoufi, Draw Link

HSE and labour welfare are "really the responsibility of the contractor or sub-contractor", Draw Link Group's chairman and key architect tells CWO

Construction HSE and labour welfare should be the contractor's responsibility, Chennoufi says. [Representational image]
Construction HSE and labour welfare should be the contractor's responsibility, Chennoufi says. [Representational image]
Daousser Chennoufi, chairman and key architect, Draw Link Group.
Daousser Chennoufi, chairman and key architect, Draw Link Group.

Draw Link Group has been active in the Gulf for over a decade, and the UAE-headquartered company's Middle East operations are overseen from the firm’s Dubai branch.

Daousser Chennoufi, Draw Link's chairman and key architect, says design and fit-out works comprise the majority of the firm's regional activities. 

“We work primarily on hospitality projects: hotels, restaurants, and so on." 

ConstructionWeekOnline speaks to Chennoufi about health, safety, and environment (HSE) standards in the GCC, and Draw Link's HSE mandate for the region. 

1. In the typical construction hierarchy, who should be in charge of HSE and labour welfare?

This is really the responsibility of the contractor or sub-contractor that is assigned the job.

It is important that all staff on site is educated on the importance of HSE.

2. How can workers ensure better HSE standards? 

Workers have an important role and should take an active part in helping to manage health and safety risks.

In particular, they must always follow site rules and procedures, and it is recommended that a daily briefing is scheduled reminding workers of importance of wearing their safety uniform checking the machines or scaffolding prior to using it; storing equipment and materials used on site carefully; and, checking machines prior to use. 

Workers must only carry out construction work if they have the relevant skills, knowledge, training and experience, or if they are provided with the training and supervision that enables them to do it safely and without risk to their health. 

They must also be aware of the health and safety risks involved in work on every site and the way those risks are managed, and report any risks to [supervisors]. 

3. How can employers make construction sites safer for their workers? 

Employers must consult their workers (or their representatives) on any health and safety matters that affect them.

Many employers go further by using positive worker involvement to highlight areas of concern and implement effective practices.

Next page: Chennoufi discusses common onsite HSE failures, and the role of labour supply companies in migrant worker rights' management

4. What are some of the most common onsite and off-site failures which result in poor HSE performances?

From observation, workers often disregard the obligation to wear safety uniforms, like the safety belt for instance.

5. What is the role of labour supply companies in ensuring migrant workers’ rights are not exploited once they move to the GCC?

This is handled by a labour supply contractor.

Businesses and construction companies operating in the GCC countries should make a public commitment to upholding migrant workers’ rights.

These include ensuring that contractors and sub-contractors pay all recruiting fees associated with workers on their projects, including reimbursing workers found to have paid such fees. 

Other commitments should be made towards paying workers on time and in full; carrying out requirements for maximum working hours with overtime pay; providing workers with decent accommodations; and, appoindependent monitors who issue public reports to ensure that workers get the benefits of labour protections, in practice, and not just on paper.

6. What is Draw Link Group’s HSE policy for onsite contracting operations?

As an active player in the construction and real-estate industry, we strive to ensure compliance to all UAE laws and also make sure that our suppliers and contractors abide by the same.

To ensure the health and safety of our people and protection of the environment, we will continue to raise awareness of the importance of our workers health and safety onsite as per the rules and regulations mapped out by Dubai Municipality.

7. What is the strength of Draw Link’s workforce? 

We have a total of 150 staff at Draw Link.

Around 100 employees work onsite and the remaining 50 work in administration and design, and are based at our headquarters. 

8. Does the company implement programmes to educate workers about their rights and the UAE’s labour law?

All onsite work is mandated by a site supervisor, as per our labour contract.

Their job revolves around managing and instructing staff, setting goals and ensuring the rights of all workers.

Any complaints received are handled first by the site supervisor directly, and then referred to our human resources manager.




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