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Sat 1 Apr 2006 04:00 AM

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If you work on a safe site, then let us know

First of all, an appeal. If you know of any shining examples of good health and safety practice on projects anywhere in this region, we want to know about them. A picture of a commercial and residential building in Dubai that we carried in Issue 113 of CW has angered some readers, because it showed site workers without hard hats or proper footwear pictured in front of a building that would make most safety officers turn pale.

|~||~||~|First of all, an appeal. If you know of any shining examples of good health and safety practice on projects anywhere in this region, we want to know about them.

A picture of a commercial and residential building in Dubai that we carried in Issue 113 of CW has angered some readers, because it showed site workers without hard hats or proper footwear pictured in front of a building that would make most safety officers turn pale.

You could injure yourself just by looking at a picture of this site, without ever having to set foot on it. Our photographer still has a twitch, weeks later.

It was not the best choice of image to run as a project showcase in an issue that was otherwise largely devoted to health and safety-related stories. We are suitably chastised.

But it will not be the last picture carried in the magazine that depicts poor site safety.

The regrettable truth is that if we only ran pictures of sites which visibly complied with good H&S practice, we would very soon run out of pictures to use.

They are still the exception rather than the rule. If we run pictures depicting unharnessed workers without hard hats, wearing flip flops and standing next to an unguarded edge, it is because that is what we see every day.

We are not condoning, endorsing or otherwise applauding such practices. We are just presenting the realities of the local construction industry.

Rather we do that and shame the companies that ignore the safety of their workers into action, than present a PPE-airbrushed image of an industry where everyone has a hard hat and steel toe cap boots and lost time accidents do not exist.

Unfortunately this is a very long way from the real world of the construction industry in the Middle East.

Health and safety on site is still self-regulated and self-policed, and the extent to which it is adopted depends largely on the corporate culture of the contractors and consultants involved in the project.

So back to the appeal — and it is a genuine one. If you work on a safe site, where health and safety is taken seriously we would like to know about it.

Sean Cronin
Editor
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