The recent fire at a construction site and onsite accidents at various construction projects underway have resulted in terrible death and injury that have brought into sharp focus concerns over safety for the city’s ubiquitous construction sites and the need to safeguard workers from occupational danger. The issue is one that will play a major part at this year’s Hardware and Tools Trade Exhibition that runs from May 13 to 15 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Melanie Beese Exhibitions Manager, Hardware and Tools Middle East, and spokesperson for Messe Frankfurt, organisers of the exhibition, said; “There is no doubt that mishaps taking place at construction sites have placed an additional emphasis on the health and safety aspects of the industry this year. Protection for the key workers should always be an overriding priority within the construction industry and this year we have a number of exhibitors who will be demonstrating and displaying various safety related items of equipment, such as harnesses, hard hats, breathing apparatus and fire retardant materials.”
The concern over caring for workers on building sites across the region has been gathering momentum recently. The issue was recently addressed by the Middle East branch of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
IOSH have highlighted mediocre health and safety standards in the UAE and the region, and expressed worries over poor enforcement of government regulations.
According to IOSH, improvements could be made when safety is treated as a priority and highlighted a Dubai based company that worked a total of 13 million man hours in 1998, losing 48,057 man hours through industrial accidents. By focusing on safety improvements and investing in the right equipment and tools, the company managed to reduce the incidences of accidents to 6,600 manhours and increased productivity to 28 million by 2006.
“It is in everyone’s interests to strive to minimise incapacitation and injury at the workplace,” remarked Ms. Beese. There will, unfortunately, inevitably be incidents that occur wherever building work is taking place; at any place around the world, simply because of the hazardous nature of the job”, she continued. “Construction sites will always be dangerous places and because of the high concentration of these per square kilometre across the UAE and the region and the number of massive, ongoing projects, the frequency of accidents can appear disproportionately high.
“In addition to ensuring employees remain physically protected, effective training to help workers correctly utilise their equipment is also important and that is something that is going to be featured at this year’s Hardware & Tools Show,” Ms. Beese added.
Last year’s Hardware and Tools Middle East show attracted over 250 exhibitors from 18 countries; including Egypt, Iran, Japan, Poland, the UAE and Singapore. “The 2006 show was a great success and saw a number of new exhibitors demonstrating products that had enhanced safety features”, said the Exhibition Manager for Hardware & Tools.
“Dewalt exhibited and they are widely regarded as the number one brand of professional power tools in the United States. They revealed three new hammers, each with a new floating handle system to reduce vibration. These tools can be used safely over a longer periods and minimise the risk of the occupational injury known as ‘vibration white finger’. We will have a number of new exhibitors displaying similar safety-oriented products this year,” Ms. Beese concluded.
Issued on behalf of Messe Frankfurt by BIZ COM.