The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City has organized its first workshop to launch the Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS), and called upon several engineering consultant, contracting and project management companies operating in the building and construction sector to implement the Executive Council’s Decision No. 42 for 2009; which calls on companies operating in this field to build the HSE Management System as a qualitative & distinguished initiative aimed at diffusing the culture of environment, health and safety across Abu Dhabi Emirate, implementing the best international practices to prevent accidents and injuries and providing a safe working environment.
Engineer Salah Awad Al Sarraj, Acting Executive Director of Town Planning Sector, stated that the workshop aimed to strengthen the culture of compliance with the HSE standards at working sites, minimize the negative impacts on workers, and protect workers as well as the environment in the public interest and in the context of the Municipality’s assiduous efforts to provide a healthy atmosphere and appropriate working environment for all.
He added: “Building the HSE Management System in the building and construction sector will enhance the implementation of Abu Dhabi Strategic Plan 2030 and the Municipality’s strategy to promote the HSE culture which will in turn reflect positively on sustaining the human development and ensuring a decent and safe human life through developing occupational safety and health standards to the highest levels”.
He emphasized that the implementation of the HSE Management System within the building and construction sector would add yet further advantages to companies, and assist in managing risks posed to occupational safety, health and environment besides contributing to performance enhancement, reduced impact & costs of accidents, lower insurance premiums, in addition to raising employee’s morale and confidence in corporate values.
Al Sarraj urged the concerned companies to respond to the initiative through building and developing their own HSE Management Systems and aligning them with the standards of Abu Dhabi HSE Center, which supervises the development of HSE management systems in Abu Dhabi Emirate.
In a working paper he delivered at the workshop, Engineer Abdul Aziz Zurub, Director of Health, Safety and Environment at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, stated that the workshop was the first step in a series of awareness workshops to be organized by the Municipality in line with a plan aiming at bolstering HSE management concepts within the building and construction sector as a prerequisite for issuing building permits.
Zurub further tackled the importance of implementing the five ingredients of the system, namely modernizing laws and regulations, linking the issuance of building permits to the compliance with the HSE requirements, consolidating awareness and education, and enforcing laws through regular inspection and introducing motivational means.
He said: “The Municipality is working on the implementation of the HSE plan and safety standards at construction sites to protect human safety, particularly since international statistics demonstrate that the most serious work-related accidents are the ones which take place during construction works in high rise buildings without taking proper protective measures or having a safe project implementation working regime”.
Engineer Bilal Arsheed, Head of System Implementation at the Municipality, reviewed the registration and approval procedures followed in this respect. Dr Peter Barnett-Schuster, Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) consultant, also spoke in the workshop about the steps and procedures taken by the DMA in implementing the system, while John Owing, the EAD EHSMS center , dealt with the requirements of implementing the system.
It is noteworthy that the Municipality is endeavoring to foster the culture of HSE and in so doing it is seeking to achieve the highest safety standards in implementing building and construction projects to the best international practices in order to safeguard human safety. The Municipality is also seeking to implement the HSE plan and safety standards at the construction sites to promote the safety of human elements, particularly since international statistics demonstrate that the most serious work-related accidents are those taking place during construction works in high rises without taking proper protective measures or having a safe project implementation working system.