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ASSE Helps Shape Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety Strategy

Posted in , on Mon, Jan 7, 2013

DES PLAINES, IL (January 7, 2013) – The 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 meeting took place November 27 in conjunction with the “Abu Dhabi Occupational Health and Safety Forum – Building an OSH Culture” where ASSE President Richard A. Pollock, CSP, gave a keynote address.

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,” Pollock said. “I took the opportunity in my keynote speech to talk about how over the past 100 years, ASSE and the occupational safety, health and environmental profession and programs have evolved and led to success when it comes to protecting people, property and the environment.”

The Abu Dhabi EHS 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. “It was gratifying to see the results of all of this hard work from ASSE members.”

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.

Last February, Abu Dhabi EHS Center’s Abdulla Al Rumaithi, an ASSE member, visited the ASSE office in Des Plaines, IL, for a series of meetings on how to improve workplace safety in the Emirates and discussed the new Center. Rumaithi said the Emirates had been working since 2006 to establish the Abu Dhabi EHS Center and with ASSE’s help, “they hope to increase work safety in their country.”  He said through the 2011 agreement with ASSE, the Abu Dhabi EHS Center will benefit from the expertise of the world’s oldest and most influential professional safety organizations.

“It pleases me to see ASSE and the occupational safety, health and environmental profession moving forward as our participation in these landmark activities illustrate,” Pollock said. “We continue to work to prevent injuries and illnesses for millions more workers worldwide.”

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional global safety society. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professional members are committed to protecting people, property and the environment. For more information on its global efforts please go to http://www.asse.org/membership/international.php or www.asse.org.

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Contact: Diane Hurns, 847-768-3413, dhurns@asse.org



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