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Middle East construction HSE schemes resist cash flow delays

Middle Eastern builders have posted impressive site safety records so far this year, and HSE standards appear to improving by the day, even as contractors face cash flow problems

COMMENT, SPECIAL REPORTS, Business, HEALTH & SAFETY, Cash flow delays, Construction, Construction Week, Middle east, Middle east construction HSE

It will no doubt give the Middle East’s built environment industry great pleasure, pride, and satisfaction to learn that senior figures in the market are in agreement on a critical topic: safety standards in the region remain in good health, and have continued to go from strength to strength this year.

Amid liquidity issues, challenging contractual disputes, late payments and cash flow problems, reports of strong safety standards in the Middle East demonstrate the regional construction industry’s shared commitment to introduce measures that will protect the workers building the skylines of the future.

At a Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) health and safety conference in April this year, Construction Week was brought up to speed on the state of safety in the UAE. Ahmad Al Sumaiti, director of HSE at DCCA, told CW that one could not imagine “how good the [health and safety] numbers look” at the moment. He added that this performance was achieved, in large part, due to the initiatives rolled out by contractors in the UAE (p26).

Meanwhile, the management at the site of one of the most important projects in the UAE – Expo 2020 Dubai – has launched a series of leadership sessions to promote health, safety, quality, and environment standards at the 4.38km2 construction site. This is a positive and encouraging step for the development, which has some of the top contractors signed up to work on it. Companies involved with Expo 2020 Dubai include Khansaheb, Orascom, Besix, Arabtec, ALEC, Tristar Engineering, and Al Naboodah Construction Group (ANCG).

The final name on this list, ANCG, has enjoyed a positive year so far, after reporting five million man-hours worked without an injury at the Dubai Creek Harbour, where it is building two, 37-storey towers for Emaar Properties (p29).

The good news is that ANCG is not the only contractor in the GCC to post strong figures for man-hours worked without a lost time incident this year. Other companies that celebrated long periods without a major injury included Orascom Construction, Al Mouj Muscat, and the MEP subsidiary of Arabtec Holding, Emirates Falcon Engineering Company. Damac Properties is also a part of this list.

While regional firms have reported impressive safety numbers so far, they understand that there is no room to become complacent. Contractors recognise that they must constantly explore various methods and technologies that can improve their safety performance. Wearable tech is an untapped area that may hold tremendous potential when it comes to safety, despite a lack of genuine uptake so far this year.

Regardless of tech adoption, however, it is clear that health and safety remains in good health in the GCC.

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Construction Week - Issue 728
Feb 07, 2019