Worksite accident report released

A report compiled by a construction industry trade group shows the deaths of 18 workers last year, six of whom fell, were recorded as accidents.

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ABU DHABI // A construction industry trade group has compiled a report on UAE worksite accidents last year to help contractors share information on what kind of injuries are occurring and how they might be prevented. The report from Build Safe UAE, which was formed last year, collected statistics from 18 major contractors covering nearly 300,000 workers in 2008. The deaths of 18 workers, six of whom fell, were recorded in accidents.

The data are not purported to be all-inclusive; although the group hopes eventually to collect data from worksites all over the UAE, only contractors for projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi provided numbers for the first report. It was not known what proportion of all active contractors the 18 represent, nor were there statistics available from other years or sources for comparison. The report also listed 651 lost-time worksite injuries.

Elias McGrath, the project manager for Build Safe UAE and the construction company Bovis Lend Lease, said the contractors submitted statistics confidentially. Mr McGrath said: "We want them to sit down in a meeting and say, 'This is us. This is companies A, B and C. This is how we're operating and we're performing well with preventing falling from height, but experiencing difficulty from falling objects, so what are we doing wrong there?'"

Build Safe UAE said that last year, construction workers put in more than 788 million hours in Dubai and more than 56m hours in the capital. Mr McGrath said: "There are a significant amount of main contractors throughout the UAE and we're pretty confident that we've got the most significant ones that deliver the most man hours." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour and UAE University are collaborating on a national study of construction site accidents. The lead researcher, Noura al Kaabi, said she wanted to design a new system to report accidents on building sites.