Further improvements in workplace safety and health are well within reach in the UAE and other parts of Middle East but engaging leadership is the key to this, said the new chair of Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) UAE branch
Ahmed El Hadidi added that while advancements have been made towards keeping workers in the region safe and healthy, he advised delegates that more needs to be done.
“To achieve this, safety and health practitioners must ensure that middle management are on board and to do this, they must be shown how safety and health is an investment, not a cost.”
He noted that middle managers want to see a vision; they don’t want to see a function. “If we don’t talk the language that people want to listen to, we won’t get anywhere. They must see how it can boost revenue.
“As safety and health professionals, we are the ones who can influence change. We must do something to remove any resistance to support from management. We must engage with them. What we must do is answer the question of what is in it for them. We must answer the why and we must do this by showing them the vision,” the IOSH UAE branch chair advised.
IOSH’s president Ian Harper also addressed the delegates on successful benchmarking alongwith Michael Huggins, health safety and environmental manager at Public Authority for Electricity and Water in Oman.
The conference was followed by the UAE branch’s annual general meeting. At the meeting, El Hadidi was announced as the new branch chair, replacing Maisaa Nasrallah.
Maisaa said that the branch had experienced a successful first year, working with several organisations such as the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center (OSHAD), conference’s platinum sponsor.
She noted, “We have seen more members join. We are in a good position now compared to around ten years ago when IOSH first started its activities in the Middle East.
“These members are able to network at events such as this conference and find out new ways of going about things. Improvements have included more regulations and legislation being put in place, which is great to see. We still have some way to go but I feel further improvements are very achievable.”
The conference, in its sixth year, was held at The Address Dubai Marina on 29 April 2015 and many delegates attended from across the Middle East and worldwide.