Construction safety initiative formed in Dubai

03 April 2008
A new initiative has been formed in Dubai aimed at improving the working conditions and safety performance of the construction industry by sharing experiences from the emirate’s building sites.

By encouraging companies to pool information, BuildSafe Dubai hopes to prevent accidents and make them aware of the potential dangers they face.

“There simply is not enough coordination on safety issues,” says Build Safe Dubai chairman Grahame McCaig. “This campaign will allow all stakeholders in the construction industry to share their experiences, promote best health and safety practices, and ultimately prevent accidents.”

The group hopes to convince firms that improving safety standards can help productivity and profitability. “Aside from the moral and ethical obligations we have towards ensuring the welfare of people who are employed in this industry, the introduction of an effective health and safety management system will positively impact the bottom line of your business,” says McCaig.

The BuildSafe Dubai initiative stems from an incident in the UK when a detachable bucket fell from an excavator. After researching the issue, the project manager, Australia’s Bovis Lend Lease, realised that similar incidents had occurred on sites around the world and had the issue been raised, the accident might have been prevented.

To prevent accidents being unnecessarily repeated in Dubai, Bovis Lend Lease hosted a meeting in late 2006 on the benefits of sharing health and safety information, as well as details of incidents when they occur. That meeting was attended by senior management from local and international construction companies and it was soon realised that the benefits gained by such an initiative should be made open to the entire industry.

By 2008 the group had formalised its structure and in March it launched a website to provide companies with the information they need to improve their health and safety procedures.

“The website,, is very important. It gives everyone access to information on how to improve safety. There are details on a wide range of topics including induction programmes and what issues you should look out for on site,” says McCaig.

The group will hold monthly meetings for companies to discuss safety issues. These will be supplemented by one larger meeting a year between senior managers from all the member companies. It also hopes to collate accident information to identify where and how accidents are happening.

“We are trying to get people to give us their accident statistics,” says McCaig. “Its not to highlight or name and shame people, but we want to analyse the data to see where accidents are happening so that we can tailor are efforts in the future.”

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