The annual Middle East Conference, organised by Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), discussed workplace safety and health with companies in the Middle East on how to enhance the benchmarking systems and avoid potential pitfalls in the process
Benchmarking is a process where firms compare themselves against others. But according to Ian Harper, president of IOSH, it is not always done correctly.
Addressing the conference at The Address Dubai Marina on 29 April 2015, his speech examined the common errors that are made while benchmarking and how the lessons learned from these can be put to good effect.
Harper added, “Benchmarking is an often-used process which involves your company being compared against others.
“But errors have been known to occur in this process around the world. There are several different kinds of errors that have been made by companies and I intend to look at these as a way of providing guidance on how pitfalls can be avoided.”
According to IOSH, the conference will be based around the vital role that business leaders are playing in keeping workers free from injury and ill health. Keynote speakers will reveal how employers have already made big strides towards preventing workers from being harmed, using international and regional case studies.
Topics included health and safety in the region, challenges in the utilities sector, and handling accident and regulatory investigations.
The event comes exactly a year since IOSH launched its UAE branch, at the 2014 conference, with the intention of aiding the area’s safety and health practitioners to cut work-related accidents and illnesses.
Maisaa Nasrallah, chair of the branch, said that the event reflected on the important role leadership plays in the successful development and implementation of safety and health policies as well as what can be done to take this forward. “With an ever-developing skyline, the UAE has witnessed extensive developments over the past years. More recently, Dubai embarked on a great challenge to develop a 438 ha site for Expo 2020, which will host an estimated 25mn visits during the event.
“We recognise that those working on such developments face a daily risk and that it is important that everything possible is done to safeguard them. That is what the UAE branch and other IOSH branches in the Middle East are working to address, in conjunction with the UAE government and other organisations in the region. We want people to go out to work knowing that they will be safe and there is no threat to their health,” she added.
Significant improvements have been made across many industries in the Middle East, where the average number of working days lost to an incident dropped from 26.2 in 2012 to 13.6 in 2013, according to IOSH.