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Health and Safety UAE Consultants log – Considerations when setting up a new company branch in the UAE

Blog 86 Setting up new company in uae

Health and Safety UAE Consultants log – Considerations when setting up a new company branch in the UAE

Organisations looking to set up operations in the UAE must also be aware of the current Federal Laws. Including other HSE legislation which may be in place specific to the Emirate or FreeZone in which they will be operating. Not understanding health and safety laws may leave a company exposed and liable to criminal and civil prosecutions.

Health and safety law mainly concerns Labour Law (Federal Law No. 8). Together with supplementary Ministerial Decisions.  Employees working in any of the seven emirates – whether in mainland or in the free or special economic zones. Must also comply with the Labour Law as regards to health and safety.

Importance of getting Health and Safety in the UAE Right

It is imperative to address the crucial aspects of establishing a new company branch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE, with its rapidly growing economy and diverse business landscape. Offers numerous opportunities for expansion and development. However, amidst this promising environment, it is essential for organizations to prioritize health and safety considerations. Thus ensuring the well-being of their employees and compliance with local regulations.

The UAE government places significant emphasis on health and safety standards across various industries. Promoting a safe working environment and protect the welfare of workers. Therefore, it is incumbent upon companies setting up new branches in the UAE to adhere to stringent health and safety protocols. This not only safeguards employees, but also enhances organizational reputation, productivity, and sustainability.

The myriad of health and safety laws can be difficult to follow. And also to apply, many companies chose to utilize the services of a Safety Consultant to ensure that they get it right.

Key Health and Safety Considerations

  1. Understanding Regulatory Framework:

Before commencing operations. It is imperative for companies to familiarize themselves with the health and safety regulations mandated by the UAE authorities. These regulations encompass various aspects. Including workplace conditions, emergency procedures, occupational health, and safety training requirements.

  1. Conducting Health and Safety Risk Assessments:

A comprehensive risk assessment is essential to identify potential hazards and mitigate risks within the workplace. Factors such as ergonomic risks, electrical safety, fire hazards, and chemical exposure must be thoroughly evaluated to implement appropriate control measures.

  1. Implementing Safety Policies and Procedures:

Establishing robust safety policies and procedures is fundamental in promoting a culture of safety within the organization. This includes defining roles and responsibilities, outlining emergency protocols, conducting regular safety inspections, and providing adequate training to employees.

  1. Ensuring Workplace Ergonomics:

Ergonomic considerations play a vital role in maintaining employee health and productivity. Providing ergonomic workstations, proper seating arrangements, and ergonomic training can help prevent musculoskeletal disorders and enhance employee well-being.

  1. Addressing Occupational Health Risks:

Companies must address occupational health risks by implementing measures to protect employees from potential health hazards associated with their work environment. This may involve providing personal protective equipment (PPE), conducting health screenings, and offering wellness programs.

  1. Emergency Preparedness and Response:

Developing and practicing emergency response plans is critical to effectively manage unforeseen emergencies such as fires, natural disasters, or medical emergencies. Companies should ensure that employees are trained in emergency procedures and that emergency exits and evacuation routes are clearly marked and accessible.

  1. Engaging Employees in Safety Culture:

Fostering a culture of safety requires active involvement and engagement from all levels of the organization. Encouraging employee participation, soliciting feedback, and recognizing safety achievements can significantly contribute to enhancing safety awareness and compliance.

Further Health and Safety Regulations

There are further regulations in place that the employer must consider if relevant to the sector in which they operate. For example, if the company is registered in the mainland Emirate of Abu Dhabi then the Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHAD), will require a company to follow their requirements.

TRAKHEES is the regulatory arm of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in Dubai and the authority responsible for licensing and regulating businesses in special development zones and areas. TRAKHEES jurisdiction also includes lands, complexes and areas owned by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Dubai World and subsidiaries of any of these, including, but not limited to; Nakheel, Limitless, Dubai Maritime City, and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). International companies registered and operating in any of these areas must follow TRAKHEES health and safety requirements, in addition to Federal Laws etc.

What are an employers’ general obligations?

In general, a company’s health and safety obligations include:

  • Provision of training to employees to prevent against work injuries, occupational diseases, fire risk, health and safety risk assessments associated with the use of machinery and general hazards associated with their employment. Some accredited training is mandatory also – such as; Fire Warden and First Aid
  • Displaying health and safety requirements clearly on site in both English, Arabic and any other language understandable by the employees
  • Provision of the necessary control measures to protect employees from occupational hazards including; provision of safety clothing, provision of appropriate equipment and tools for personal protection, setting up safety barriers around hazardous equipment and machinery, taking necessary precautions regarding the storage and disposal of hazardous materials
  • Reporting to the Ministry of Labour any accident or incident at work resulting in an employee’s death, or that involves fire or explosion, or which renders an employee unable to attend work for three consecutive days (Article 24 of Ministerial Decision No. 32/1982)
  • Ensuring a trained first-aider is available to provide First Aid assistance and that every first aid kit includes specified contents (Article 4 of Ministerial Decision No. 32/182)
  • Ensure workplaces are kept clean, ventilated, illuminated, have provision of rest and eating areas, potable water and toilet facilities (Article 5 of Ministerial Decision No. 32/1982 and Article 2 of Ministerial Decision No. 27/1/1981)
The company’s in house HSE Manager, or an HSE Consultancy such as Corporate OHS, would assist the company to:
  • Assess the company work activities and develop a Legal Risk Register showing where compliance to health and safety law must be applied relative to the company work activities;
  • Work with employees to assist them to undertake health and safety risk assessments, identifying all significant hazards, evaluating these hazards and recommending adequate control measures
  • Assist in the development of safe systems of work and standard operating procedures to control specific work activities
  • Developing and implementing a reporting mechanism to address HSE issues raised by employees
  • Assisting employees to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment and the subsequent development and implementation of emergency procedures, including evacuation plans
  • The above measures are the basis for development of a health and safety management system. This should also be developed and implemented in a manner which complies with both Federal Law and local requirements., such as OSHAD, or a combination of both.
  • The development of management system, such as ISO45001, can provide a demonstrable occupational health and safety requirements and also prove it’s commitment to complying with health and safety law
What are the consequences of failing to comply with UAE HSE law ?

Failure to comply with the statutory HSE requirements in the UAE may result in:

  • Criminal sanctions, the police will conduct a formal investigation into an incident and retain the passports of any employees they consider responsible for the incident. If referred to the public prosecutor and then criminal court, a minimum penalty of at least one year’s imprisonment and a fine may be imposed
  • Liability to pay blood money (Diya) Where there is a fatality at work in addition to statutory compensation – under UAE law equivalent to 24 months’ basic salary at the time of death (Article 149 of UAE Labour Law) and/or civil compensatory damages
  • Liability to pay compensation for various other disabilities or partial disabilities (Article 150 of Federal Law No. 8)
  • Business License Suspension or Revocation: Regulatory authorities in the UAE have the authority to suspend or revoke the business licenses of companies found to be consistently non-compliant with HSE regulations. This can disrupt business operations, tarnish the company’s reputation, and result in financial losses.
  • Civil Liability: Non-compliance with HSE laws can expose companies to civil liability claims filed by affected employees, customers, or members of the public. Such claims may seek compensation for injuries, illnesses, or environmental damage caused by the company’s negligence or disregard for safety standards. The amounts will be subject to the nature and severity of the incident
Financial Consequences:
  1. Increased Operational Costs: Remedying HSE violations and implementing corrective measures can significantly increase operational costs for businesses. This may include investing in safety equipment, conducting training programs, hiring consultants, and paying fines or penalties.
  2. Loss of Revenue: Non-compliance with HSE regulations can lead to reputational damage, loss of customer trust, and decreased demand for products or services. As a result, businesses may experience a decline in revenue and market share, further exacerbating financial losses.
  3. Insurance Premiums and Claims: Insurance companies in the UAE may increase premiums or deny coverage to companies with a history of HSE violations. Moreover, insurance claims resulting from workplace accidents or environmental incidents can have a substantial financial impact on businesses, particularly if they are not adequately insured.
Reputational Consequences:
  1. Damage to Brand Reputation: News of HSE violations and workplace incidents can damage a company’s brand reputation, eroding consumer trust and loyalty. Negative publicity may deter potential customers, investors, and business partners, leading to long-term damage to the company’s image and market standing.
  2. Stakeholder Confidence: Non-compliance with HSE laws undermines stakeholder confidence in the company’s ability to operate responsibly and sustainably. Shareholders, investors, and other stakeholders may express concerns about corporate governance, ethical practices, and risk management, potentially leading to shareholder activism or divestment.
  3. Regulatory Scrutiny: Companies with a history of HSE violations may attract heightened regulatory scrutiny and monitoring, subjecting them to more frequent inspections, audits, and compliance reviews. This increases administrative burden, disrupts business operations, and further damages the company’s reputation.
Environmental Consequences:
  1. Environmental Damage: Failure to comply with environmental regulations can result in pollution, habitat destruction, and ecosystem degradation, harming local ecosystems and biodiversity. Environmental incidents may also contaminate air, water, and soil, posing health risks to communities and wildlife.
  2. Long-Term Sustainability: Ignoring environmental considerations can jeopardize the long-term sustainability of businesses, as environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten future viability and profitability. Companies that fail to adopt sustainable practices may face regulatory restrictions, market boycotts, and public backlash.
Don’t Forget !

Ministry of Labour Inspectors can enter and inspect workplaces at any time without prior notice and impose any measures aimed at averting any danger or risk to employees. They may also levy fines or rectification notices on companies for breaches of these requirements, regardless of whether a workplace accident has actually occurred or not.


In conclusion, non-compliance with UAE health, safety, and environmental laws can have dire consequences for businesses. Including legal penalties, financial losses, reputational damage, and environmental harm. It is essential for companies to prioritize HSE compliance. Invest in robust safety measures, and uphold ethical standards. Thus mitigating risks and ensure sustainable business practices. By adhering to regulatory requirements and fostering a culture of safety and environmental stewardship. Businesses can safeguard their employees, protect the environment, and maintain their reputation in the UAE market.

Corporate OHS – Health and Safety

If you are looking for support with occupational health and safety services in the UAE. And help from an expert Safety Consultant. Corporate OHS is a Health and Safety Consultancy services provider. Whose HSE Consultants offer expert resources and superior performance to give you greater results.

We specialize in creating workable, user friendly solutions. Aligned to your business activities, operations and budget.

Our range of health and safety consultancy services includes;

  • Health and Safety Risk Assessments
  • Hazard identification and control measure implementation
  • Gap Analysis
  • Audits and compliance audits
  • HSE management system development, implementation and review. Including locally compliant systems such as OSHAD or OSHJ and/or accredited systems such as ISO 45001, ISO 14001,
    ISO 9001 and ISO 50001
  • HSE legal compliance reviews and assistance
  • Accident investigations
  • Business continuity and crisis management
  • Long term or project based HSE outsourcing
  • Flexible monthly support retainers. Giving access to HSE service without the burden of a permanent cost

To find out more about our services. Please visit our website Or send an email to, or call 00 971 4 550 7862.

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