Safety clamp cuts worksite deaths in Bahrain
Manama, September 17, 2013
A crackdown on companies that flout safety standards has led to a significant decrease in the number of worksite deaths this year in Bahrain, according to a senior labour official.
There were a total of 36 work-related deaths last year, which is the equivalent of three every month, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The number of deaths this year stood at 21 by the end of August, which is an average of 2.65 a month.
Authorities believe the reduction in fatalities is a direct result of tougher penalties for companies caught ignoring safety rules.
"We have occupational health and safety department engineers and inspectors who work round the clock and do inspections at various worksites in Bahrain," said Labour Ministry inspections and labour unions director Ahmed Al Haiki.
"Accident inspectors used to enforce construction safety laws by distributing safety brochures that are printed in several languages for workers' safety.
"They also recommended safety supervisors at each project, but we noticed that no-one followed these rules and that's the reason so many accidents happened earlier.
"Now we give them a warning and then refer companies ignoring labour rules to the Public Prosecution, before banning them from hiring expat labourers.
"The safety of workers, who are helping us build all these high-rise buildings, is more important than anything else. All company officials have promised to co-operate and provide us with the required information."
Those killed in work-related incidents include labourers who fell from buildings under construction, were hit by falling construction materials, suffocated on deadly gases in a sewage trench or became trapped in workplace machines.
Labour regulations state companies that employ 100 workers must hire a safety officer, while those with 50 or less should train a supervisor or foreman to monitor safety issues.
However, Al Haiki said that some firms ignored the most basic safety measures.
"Most of the accidents happened due to neglect of basic safety rules," he said. "Companies must follow safety measures and provide workers with safety uniforms before sending them to worksites." – TradeArabia News Service
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