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Falls from Height and Falling Objects are the Leading Cause of Fatal Injuries on Worksites

15 May, 2012: Abu Dhabi – Aimed at decreasing occupational fatalities due to falls and falling objects, the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, launched today at a press conference in Shangri-la hotel the “Height Aware” Programme.

The programme supports employers in complying with the requirements of the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Management System and is supported by Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center and Ministry of Labour. It targets occupational health and safety professionals, supervisors and workers. It contains information and details of procedures designed to give guidance for safe work practices when working at height.

According to HAAD statistics for 2011, the total occupational fatal injury deaths in the Emirate were 71 cases, 53 were from falls and falling objects.

Speaking at the press conference Dr. Omniyat AlHajeri, Director of Public health and Policy , said: “Occupational Health and Safety is one of the major public health challenges and strategic health priorities for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

“The “Height Aware” programme aims to decrease occupational fatalities due to falls and falling objects by 10 per cent annually compared to baseline 2008-2011 through a safer and healthier working environment for Abu Dhabi residents.”Dr. Omniyat added.

Many jobs and occupations across all sectors in the UAE and GCC region require some form of working at height. In Abu Dhabi, falls from height and falling objects are the leading cause of fatal injuries on worksites, causing almost 50% of fatal injuries.

On the other hand, it was pointed by Reem Al Nuaimi, Deputy Director of the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center, that the awareness program addresses some workplace hazards that are covered by a number of codes of practice under Version 2 of the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Management System, including codes of practice on Working at Heights, Scaffolding, Ladders, and Use of Lifting Equipment. Ms. Al Nuaimi also pointed to the role of the Center in coordinating activities of this program between the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi and the authorities regulating other sectors implementing the AD EHSMS.

Darren Joubert, Senior Officer at Health, Safety and Environment Department at HAAD said: “Many would think that this type of work only affects those in the construction industry, however, working at height is a potentially fatal challenge faced in the agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors as well. From seemingly simply tasks like changing a light bulb in a corporate office to pruning a date palm on a farm, working at height is an everyday reality for many employees.”

Various multi-media resources ranging from posters and educational pamphlets to instructional animated videos in various relevant languages have been developed for training purposes and are offered free of charge upon registration on the programme website at www.haad-height.ae

“Registering for the HAAD height aware programme and using the free resources available will assist both employees and workers to practice safe work at height, and prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities,” said Joubert.

The Height Aware programme is based on technical research and international best practice and regulatory requirements as set out in the UAE Federal labour law and Abu Dhabi Emirate Environment Health and Safety Management system regulatory requirements. It offers employers and employees a multilingual awareness and learning experience.

Topics in the programme include: the Risks of Working at Height, Preventing the Risks, Best Practice Guidelines, Safety Harness System and Emergency Rescue Procedure. Within these specifically structured topics, the programme demonstrates the risks of working at height and how to prevent injury while doing so across a variety of sectors and occupations utilising international best practice.

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Last updated: 16 Jun 2024

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