Health and safety in the construction industry: challenges and solutions in the UAE

  • Mohamed Alhajeri

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Health and safety issues have always been a major problem and concern in the construction industry. Wherever reliable records are available, construction is found to be one of the most dangerous on health and safety criteria, particularly in developing countries. Efforts have been made to address this problem, but the results have been far from satisfactory, as construction accidents continue to dominate the overall construction industry. Despite the programs implemented by government authorities and measures introduced by companies themselves, the number of construction accidents still remains alarmingly high.

    In developing countries, safety rules usually do not exist; if they do, the regulatory authority is usually very weak in implementing such rules effectively. The UAE is one of developing countries that are currently enjoying a strong growth in construction activities.
    Unfortunately, some sectors of its construction industry suffer from poor safety and health conditions. Any framework of the existing occupational and health conditions is fragmented and inadequately enforced, making construction sites more hazardous. It may even be argued that relevant regulations are outdated and irrelevant in day-to-day construction operations. From this perspective this research explores the approved methods adopted in the UK in order to improve the existing code of practice in the UAE and thus introduce the foundations on which appropriate health and safety systems may be built. A framework for Health and Safety management in the UK is suggested. To reach this objective an overview of the published materials as well as the legislation has
    been undertaken. Questionnaires were designed and distributed to potential construction industry players and interview sessions have been conducted to meet the first objective of the project which to determine the health and safety measures currently applied on
    construction sites. In addition, structured interviews were carried out with selected managers from a selection of construction and oil companies, medium and large size. This thesis specifically, it investigates the safety perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour of
    construction workers and management safety practices. Based upon the analysis of the results, this study has demonstrated that the majority of those questioned UAE construction companies have a poor degree of risk awareness and do not seems to take health and safety as an important issue.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMessaoud Saidani (Supervisor)

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