CORPORATE OHS LIMITED

compliance

compliance

The proper consideration of health and safety is an important aspect for any employer within the UAE.  There are many reasons to implement a robust health and safety risk management system including; managing moral, financial and reputational risks, increasing productivity and winning further business.

Organisations must also be aware of the current health and safety local and federal laws in order to ensure they remain compliant. Not understanding health and safety laws may leave a company exposed and liable to civil and/or criminal prosecutions.

The UAE Health and Safety regime

The health and safety legal regime is mainly derived from Labour Law (Federal Law No. 8) applicable to all employees working in the UAE, save for a number of specifiec carve outs, together with supplementary Ministerial Decisions.

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What are an employers’ general obligations?

A company’s health and safety obligations include:

  • – Provision of training to employees to prevent against work injuries, occupational diseases, fire risk, risks associated with the use of machinery and general hazards or risks associated with their employment
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  • – Displaying health and safety requirements clearly on site in both Arabic and any other language understandable by the employees
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  • – Adopting necessary measures to protect employees from occupational hazards including; provision of safety clothing, equipping the employee with other appropriate equipment and tools for personal protection, setting up safety barriers around hazardous equipment and machinery, taking necessary precautions regarding storage and disposal of hazardous materials
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  • – Reporting to the Ministry of Labour any accident or incident at work resulting in an employee’s death, 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)
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  • – Ensuring a specialized 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)
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  • – Ensuring 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)
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  • – High risk companies with more than 150 employees are required to employ a full time safety officer, assigned to supervise the implementation of UAE health and safety law (Article 26 of Ministerial Decision No. 32/1982)
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What are the consequences of failing to comply?

Failure to comply with the statutory HSE requirements 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
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  • – Civil compensatory damages, subject to the nature and severity of the incident
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  • – Contractual liability
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  • – 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
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  • – Negative publicity which can impact upon the ability to retain and recruit staff, brand recognition, and attainment of new business and future revenue
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  • – 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.
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How can Corporate OHS help ?

Initially a company would assess the health and safety provision that they currently have in place. If the company is registered in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi then the Government OSHAD entity (Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health) will require that a company falls into three categories, namely High, Medium and Low Risk.

  • – Assess the company work activities and areas of particular high risk and develop a Legal Risk Register showing where compliance to health and safety law must be applied
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  • – Work with employees to undertake risk assessments; identifying all significant hazards, evaluating these hazards and recommending adequate control measures
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  • – Develop safe systems of work and standard operating procedures to control specific work activities.
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  • – Develop a reporting mechanism to address OSH issues raised by employees
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  • – Develop emergency procedures, including evacuation plans. Ensuring that if an emergency did occur, then there was a response plan in place for workers to follow
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  • – Training should be given to both workers and management on the significant hazards/areas of concern identified in the risk assessment, and the control measures required to conduct work activities safely and without risk to employees health and safety
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  • – 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 local and federal laws, such as; ISO45001, OSHAD SF, or, a combination of both. The management system would include Safe Operating Procedures – not only to help to safeguard workers, but also to provide a demonstrable framework that allows the company to prove it’s committment to complying with health and safety law

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