A voluntary charter set up by a group of major contractors has already improved working conditions across Dubai, and is a worthy winner of this category

EC Harris
Sponsored by EC Harris

EC Harris

EC Harris is delighted to be sponsoring the Health and Safety Initiative at Gulf States Building Awards, celebrating construction excellence within the region. Operating in the Middle East for over 20 years EC Harris is the leading international consultancy in the region. With our highly skilled and motivated professional consultants operating from our Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, our unique blend of knowledge and skills ensures delivery of world class solutions to meet our clients’ business objectives. Our expertise lies in combining a range of professional skills with local knowledge to deliver better value results for our clients.

Winner: Build Safe Dubai

The construction boom in Dubai has brought with it the danger of working quickly and intensively and the consequent the risk of accidents and fatalities on site. While the Dubai Municipality does not publish official figures, it is understood that, as construction in the city has grown, so has the number of serious safety incidents. In an effort to counteract this slide, Bovis Lend Lease brought together major contractors Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Multiplex and Murray & Roberts to introduce a radical new safety charter.

Build Safe Dubai has now been signed by as many as 60 senior managers, pledging to uphold a safe working environment on their sites and share information to promote a positive health and safety culture in Dubai. The idea was founded in the spirit of collaboration; senior managers working with their rival companies to improve the standards of their industry. Build Safe Dubai sends out email safety alerts warning of particular risks or drawing attention to new initiatives. Members are encouraged to contribute to the sharing of information.

Build Safe Dubai is not just preaching to the converted. Local companies who may be less

familiar with the stringent health and safety policies of established UK-based companies are now beginning to sign the charter. The initiative’s true success is how it has spread best practice throughout the industry. Clients are beginning to take interest, too.

A truly proactive health and safety culture has to come from the top, and everyone involved with Build Safe Dubai should be applauded, not only for their willingness to work together to improve the industry, but also for bringing authority, information and expertise to bear on something that is not about making money, but saving lives.