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Wed 4 Mar 2009 04:00 AM

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Caring communities

One of the things that's struck me this month is the compassion with which the government authorities and some private companies act on their duty of care.

One of the things that's struck me this month is the compassion with which the government authorities and some private companies act on their duty of care.

February has been an exciting 28 days and during that time I've been very fortunate to witness firsthand the work that is done in the region.

This month I've been to two training sessions, one held by Arabtec and Dubai Police to teach labourers about road crossing safety, the other between Emirates Gas and the various Civil Defence authorities in the UAE on how to tackle gas tanker accidents.

In both cases I've been astounded by the genuine empathy and concern felt by all those taking part.

I asked Hesham Ali Mustafa, the general manager for Emirates Gas, why they were running a training session for simulation. His answer was simple but spoke volumes about his company's attitude.

"It's part of our responsibility towards Dubai," he said. No legal cajoling, no forced policies, just a simple recognition of the duty of care.

It was similar answer from Khalid Omari, the Arabtec safety manager. "Life is precious," he said. "These workers have families at home who depend on them so we must protect them. Our workers are our most important assets and we will make sure they are safe."

Of course, while both these courses highlighted the responsibilities of companies and authorities, they also served as a reminder that health and safety is a personal as well as a corporate responsibility.

This is something that comes up in our banking feature this month. Our experts talk us through the need of banks to provide hi-tech security systems, but those working in those institutions should also be prepared to take ownership of the situation to keep customers' money safe.

Similarly in our feature on fire codes, we're warned that people should check carefully to ensure the products and buildings they construct meet standards. As ever, security, fire prevention and safety is everyone's responsibility.James Boley is the editor of Security Fire Safety Middle East.

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