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Sat 18 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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Dubai launches safety crackdown on cranes

New Dubai Accreditation Centre regulations will make regular testing of cranes obligatory

All cranes used on Dubai’s building sites will soon have to undergo rigorous safety checks in an attempt to clamp down on the number of accidents that occur.

The move is part of Dubai Municipality’s push to block the infiltration of poor-quality cranes within the local construction industry.

The Dubai Accreditation Centre (DAC) is in the process of drafting a law that will make it obligatory for all cranes to be fully tested and accredited.

“We are enforcing the cranes issue,” said Abdullah Al Shaibani, assistant director general for technical services at DM.

“One of the things is to make sure that people who are testing cranes are doing the job properly — it is not just a case of someone stamping a piece of paper for it to be hung on a wall.”

But despite an accreditation system for cranes being in place since 2004, few are subjected to stringent testing procedures.

“There are so many accidents happening, yet there is no regulatory body in the UAE to enforce safety procedures on cranes,” said Nabil Salim, sales manager at Sharjah-based cranes supplier, AAA Construction Equipment.

The company recently won an order to supply cranes to the Dubai Metro project. Each time a crane is moved from one site to another, it has to be re-certified.

But according to Salim, some safety inspectors are lax in their testing methods. “Some safety companies issue certificates without properly checking the cranes.

And sometimes when you go for certificate registration, they don’t check the computer — they only check to see if the crane is working. All new models entering the market are operated by computer, whereas the older ones aren’t.”

DAC has accredited at least seven companies to carry out inspections on cranes. They include: Claymore Security and Safety Consultants, Emirates Safety Services, Team Safety Consultants, Mirdif Security and Safety Consultants, MTI Middle East and Dutest Industrial.

Their performance is monitored every six months through surveillance visits, as well as through unannounced monthly visits and proficiency testing. Laboratories are re-assessed every three years from the time of accreditation.

“Any non-complying laboratory is subject to suspension and, if necessary, withdrawal of its accreditation,” said Al Shaibani.DAC issues and maintains a list of accredited inspection bodies for cranes to the Environmental Department, the Building Department, the Civil Defense Department, and the Environment, Health & Safety Department in the Ports Customs & Free Zone Corperation.

“These governmental departments are responsible for monitoring the construction sites and the industrial plants to ensure that cranes used are certified by an accredited inspection body approved by DAC, otherwise violations will be issued to them,” added Al Shaibani.

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