Construction heavyweights call for HSE standards

Contractors must not see health & safety as an area to cut costs

Build Safe UAE was congratulated on the role it has played in raising safety awareness
Build Safe UAE was congratulated on the role it has played in raising safety awareness

Several of the biggest names in the GCC construction industry have called for UAE-wide HSE standards.

In a panel discussion at the Construction Week Dubai Conference 2009, Dutco Balfour Beatty general manager Grahame McCaig, leading the discussion, said: “We certainly see HSE as an investment and not a cost, but I wonder whether everyone sees it that way.”

Sixco GM Philippe Dessoy agreed, claiming that HSE levels were rising across the United Arab Emirates.

“We're not looking to cut into safety budgets – a healthy, safe and happy site is more productive. With the slowdown, there's more time for training sessions, as well as less newcomers. So, it's a chance for HSE to improve.”

That argument was seconded by Arabtec CEO Tom Barry. “We don't take safety lightly,” said Barry.

“It'd be sad if smaller contractors see safety as an area in which to cut costs. As Philippe said, we're focusing on the continual training of our current labour force.”

Barry also congratulated Build Safe UAE on the job it was doing in highlighting the importance of health and safety on site.

“I hope that Build Safe UAE, along with Dubai Municipality, for example, takes up the opportunity to implement a safety regime for the UAE. We want a safer, cleaner industry.”

McCaig, also the chairperson of Build Safe UAE, responded: “We try hard to educate but I want to reemphasise that BuildSafe is not a legislative body. That has to come from government."

“It'd be great to see a UAE standard – for the whole country to set a benchmark.”


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