Thursday, May 5, 2011

Middle East organisations attend event to improve health and safety in region


Key figures from Middle East organisations gathered yesterday (Wednesday 4 May), to share ideas on cutting workplace injury and ill-health in the region.

More than 160 health and safety experts attended the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Middle East Annual Conference in Dubai, at The Events Center, InterContinental Dubai Festival City. The event was a chance for professionals to share cutting edge techniques in health and safety to improve standards over the coming year, as well as hear presentations from international speakers.

IOSH Middle East Branch chair Jonathan Pickering said: “The conference has been a huge success and it’s been fantastic to have the support of the Abu Dhabi (AD) EHS Center and the Ministry of Labor’s involvement, along with our other speakers.

“Our core aim is to reduce incidents of injury and ill-health at work, and in pulling together key organisations across the Middle East, we feel that collectively, we will be able to drive up standards in health and safety.”

Dr Jaber Al Jaberi from the event’s lead sponsor, AD EHS Center, spoke to delegates on behalf of HE Majid Al Mansouri, chairman of both the Department of Municipal Affairs and the EHS Higher Committee.

He said: “I would like to thank IOSH and its partners for organising this conference, which has focused on the latest developments in occupational health and safety (OSH) in the region, and best practice in the field of OSH.

“To benefit from best practice, in December 2010, AD EHS Center signed a Letter of Agreement with IOSH, which has a long history in these issues and in working with government authorities. Areas of our co-operation include workshops, conferences and seminars, development of standards related to EHS practitioners and awareness programs.”

During the day, Health, Safety and Environment co-ordinator Hesham Alawi Abdullah, from Aluminium Bahrain, spoke about how social responsibility helps companies to achieve a sound reputation, while maintaining employees’ attendance and productivity. Rebecca Kelly – a partner in dispute resolution for international law firm, Clyde & Co LLP - revealed that it is individuals, not companies that are prosecuted for criminal acts.

IOSH president Steve Granger said: “It was an honour to open the second Middle East Annual Conference and to meet so many fantastic people who are championing the health and safety cause in this region. I hope that we will be able to carry the lessons we have learnt from this event together, to build a world of work in the Middle East that is safe, healthy and sustainable.”                                                                                          

IOSH is the world’s largest body for health and safety professionals. While it is based in the UK, its Middle East Branch currently has over 800 members and provides a local base for people to meet and develop ideas and standards.

Mr Pickering added: “Here at IOSH’s Middle East Branch we are committed to being a voice for employees and a forum for guidance for employers to help them protect staff that work in this region.”

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