globalThe American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) met with Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center officials in the United Arab Emirates recently to assist them in developing the country’s first Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Strategy aimed at reducing work-related injuries and fatalities and building a preventative safety culture. The November meeting took place in conjunction with the “Abu Dhabi Occupational Health and Safety Forum – Building an OSH Culture.”

The strategy, officials note, aims to provide the Abu Dhabi EHS Center, sector regulatory authorities, government and private entities and other relevant stakeholders, with the direction for ensuring there is a sustained and substantial improvement in Abu Dhabi’s OSH performance over the next decade.

“We have been working with Abu Dhabi officials for years on the importance of preventing workplace injuries and illnesses and are pleased that not only have they developed a strategy aimed at doing just this, but also opened its new EHS Center,” said ASSE president Richard Pollock said.

The center supervises the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Emirate EHS Management System (AD EHSMS) in both government and private sectors, as well as the management of all issues related to occupational safety and health at the Abu Dhabi Emirate level. The country’s top occupational-related injuries and illnesses are 1) falls from height/falling objects/injuries; 2) heat-related illness; 3) working with electricity/electrocution; 4) occupational driving injuries/fatalities; and, 5) occupational noise induced hearing loss.

Currently, there is limited reliable data on countrywide occupational injuries and illnesses available, Abu Dhabi officials note. An Emirate EHS incident and performance database is being established to ensure “more reliable data will be available in the future.”

“The opening of the Abu Dhabi EHS Center represented years of collaboration with our Middle East members as ASSE continues to provide professional development programs and expertise in new areas in its ongoing effort to train others to help prevent injuries and illnesses,” Pollock said.

As part of its 100th anniversary in 2011, ASSE and Abu Dhabi EHS Center officials signed a letter of agreement to continue efforts to increase occupational safety and health worldwide. The agreement provided that both organizations exchange information on issues related to enhancing work safety and increasing Abu Dhabi’s occupational safety, health and environmental knowledge.