Developers must support contractors to improve safety performance

Sun, 07 Mar, 2010


Nine active sites monitored for safety performance; monthly inspections and work with contractors brings accident rate to all time low.

DAMAC Properties has cited team work with its contractors as the reason it has doubled its safety performance record across nine construction sites in Dubai in 2009.

During 2009 a total of 21million man hours were worked – an increase of 16 per cent from 2008 – with just three lost time incidents for the entire year. This puts the frequency rate of lost time incidents per one million man hours at just 0.2 – a reduction from 0.4 in 2008.

There were no fatalities at any sites and medical treatment cases were reduced by 54 per cent to just 58 for the entire year. In addition the number of first aid cases saw a 30 per cent improvement rate.

The company says that developers must work together with contractors on site to ensure that safety awareness programmes and initiatives are ‘embedded’ into every day working practices. In 2009 a total of 430 site visits were carried out with on the spot checks which resulted in many positive changes including for example closer attention being paid to the wearing of personal protective equipments.
DAMAC Properties Health Safety and Environment Manager Dr. Ekarath Raveendran, said: ‘We have many different contractors and sub-contractors that we work with at our various sites and they may all have different approaches to safety. It is our responsibility to ensure that we introduce consistent and clear expectations across all of our sites and to work with all the different safety officers and staff to ensure that these are adhered to.

‘At the end of the day we have put quite a lot of pressure on our contractors but ultimately this has benefited everyone by minimising risks and reducing accidents.’
Dr Raveendran said that training workshops and presentations had also contributed to greater awareness and sign on from contractors - allowing for an exchange of views and discussions on the solutions to potential safety problems or issues.

“We introduced regular HSE demonstrations on site and also discussed any matters of concern by using case studies of other incidents to look at the correct procedures to adopt, ‘ he said. ‘We also use all Build Safe UAE safety alerts and posters to share both good and bad practice.’

Currently DAMAC Properties as more than 11,313 units under construction across the region and this year will deliver more than 3,000 in Dubai. The nine construction sites that were monitored during the annual safety audit were Ocean Heights, Smart Heights, Emirates Gardens One and Two, Tuscan Residences, Lago Vista, Park Towers, Business Tower and XL Tower. Among other areas monitored for safety were vehicle accidents and fires at sites – of which there were none – and also property damage incidents which numbered just five. In addition the company also recorded no environmental violations for the year.

“To have achieved such an impressive safety performance in a year when DAMAC focused heavily on construction and continued with its timetable at all of these key sites in Dubai, is further demonstration of the commitment of our contractors and their willingness to work with us,’ said Dr Raveendran.

‘Continuous training is essential for improving the competencies not only of HSE personnel on site but of all staff. Establishing a safety culture but in a practical and sensible manner will ultimately ensure more engagement from contractors – after all construction sites are hazardous working environments and an accident can have devastating consequences.’