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Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Heights.

BSU Focus Group #5 was launched and led by Rod Gray - Operations Manager of AL AHMADIAH CONTRACTING & TRADING with a goal to ‘identify, develop & promote Best Practice Guidelines for Working at Heights in the Construction Industry of the United Arab Emirates’. Over six months, his team has produced a free guidance document under Build Safe UAE to ultimately raise awareness and improve the current standards of practice of all constructions stakeholders throughout the UAE. The full document can be viewed on Buildsafe's website www.buildsafeuae.com

 This document contains photographs of all forms of best practice witnessed and implemented within this region and links into existing regulations and international standards, therefore it is a practical & feasible guide which any organisation can use to reduce and eliminate ‘Falls from Height’. 


Falls from height remains the most common & the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and one of the main causes of major injury.


If you fall from a height above two metres, the likelihood is that you will sustain a serious injury.


Everything possible needs to be done to ensure that this type of accident does not continue occurring. 


Working at Height must be appropriately managed.


In 2008, Build Safe UAE recorded (8 out of 20) Fatalities and (81) Lost Time Injuries relating to ‘FALLS FROM HEIGHT’. This number of Fatalities & LTI’s indicates a huge scope for improvement when ‘Working at Heights’.


Unfortunately, the causes for these types of incidents are not new to us and clearly more needs to be done. A considerable amount of these accidents could have been prevented if the proper standards of practice were implemented.


Earlier this year, Chairman - Grahame McCaig sat down with the General Managers of the BSU Main Contractors to review, address and action our impacts as a construction industry in 2008. It was agreed unanimously that more needed to be done ‘together’ to reduce and eliminate ‘Falls from Height’.


Companies must control the risks from falls in the workplace. All employers have legal obligations in relation to the Health and Safety of their employees and premises.


The UAE construction workforce consists of a large population of people who may not have even worked on a construction site before; therefore, high rise activity poses an enormous level of risk if not addressed properly.


Workers need to be educated, trained and also screened for medical fitness – another contributing factor to accidents, as workers are sometimes not physical fit enough to carry out work at heights.


Construction stakeholders must abide by the regulations that exist in the UAE specific to ‘working at heights’. They apply to all work at height where there is a risk that a fall could cause personal injury.


When considering work at height, the following steps should be undertaken:


conduct a risk assessment

• avoid, prevent or minimise the need to work at height (hierarchy of control); and

ensure that staff are competent to do the work and are properly supervised


It is only when this process has been followed that working at height will be appropriately managed.


We plan to deliver these outcomes to all Build Safe UAE members and present this Working Paper to all regulatory bodies, insurance companies and developers for comment and feedback, support and implementation.


We invite and encourage Regulators, Insurance Companies and Developers to support our efforts and facilitate change for improvements.


Later this month, we catch up with Elias McGrath, Group Administrator for Build Safe UAE to find out more about Buildsafe's current initiatives and its involvement in the Big 5 PMV Exhibition in Dubai. 

This document is available for free download on the BSU website: logon to www.buildsafeuae.com under the tab titled: Focus Groups http://www.buildsafeuae.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabindex=3887&tabid=2965



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