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Posted On: 30 April 2017 07:13 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:17 pm

Local start-up Al-Saeb puts workers’ safety first

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

By Ashlee Starratt

Imagine mid-afternoon on a Qatar summer’s day and the temperatures are quickly approaching 45-50 degrees Celsius (113-122 degrees Fahrenheit). Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight at those levels of heat poses health and safety risks to everyone; and Qatar’s workforce of blue-collar labourers are an especially vulnerable demographic.

Working outside in summer during the noon-time hours – the hottest part of the day – is prohibited in Qatar, and it’s important that all labourers and staff on outdoor job-sites have access to shade, water, first aid, and regular breaks. In an effort to ensure accountability when it comes to safety standards, one local Qatari start-up is empowering labourers affected most, with one safety solution that’s directly in their hands.

Al-Saeb is a smart-watch created by Qatari engineers Rashid Al-Mohanadi, and Saoud Alkuwari. ILQ sat down with the two young entrepreneurs to learn more about this start-up that could save a life.

ILQ: So what is Al-Saeb and how does it work?

SA: Al-Saeb is a safety solution for labour workers that monitors multiple health variables. It has a heart-rate monitor, motion sensor, and SOS distress button. In case of any health abnormalities, the watch will send a distress signal with a location to a monitoring unit. To illustrate an example, let us consider a worker who experiences an irregular heartbeat and requires urgent attention – the watch will send a distress signal with his location to a monitoring system to call for help.

ILQ: How did you identify a need in the community for a product such as El Saeb?

SA: Labour workers in Qatar are subjected to a harsh work environment. Foreign media platforms have [minimized] Qatar's efforts to tackle this problem – especially, around 2022 World Cup projects. Considering the harsh environment, as local engineers, we’ve taken the initiative to develop a solution to tackle this problem.


ILQ: How are you ensuring that these safety watches reach their target market?

RAM: We’re betting on several factors – the innovative design of the system, and its effectiveness in increasing work-site safety and productivity, the need to address safety issues in construction sites due to the harsh environment, and to ensure that the product gets the required exposure to make sure all construction companies are aware of the solution.

ILQ: In your opinion what are the top contributing factors that lead to construction site injuries in Qatar?

SA: Qatar’s extreme heat is usually the root cause of injuries at construction sites across the country. Extreme heat could cause cardiac arrest and extreme dehydration. Al-Saeb address these issues by monitoring relevant health variables to avoid incidents, or ensure quick compliance [of regulations] in case of an incident.

ILQ: What do you hope the outcomes of Al-Saeb’s usage will be?

RAM: We hope that we can set new standards in work-site safety, and alleviate risk to construction workers.

ILQ: What impact is Al-Saeb already having in the labourer community? What’s the feedback been like?

SA: As local engineers and innovators, we appreciate the value added by labour workers to Qatar's growth. Therefore, we care about their well-being. We hope Al-Saeb will help set a new safety standard, and we highly believe that our product will address new horizons towards ensuring the safety of Qatar’s labour workers.


(Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

ILQ: How can employers and individuals purchase or acquire Al-Saeb, and what is the cost?

RAM: Each system is designed as per the requirement of the customers, since not all work-sites are the same. Thus, the cost of each system might differ depending on the site characteristics.

ILQ: How do you hope Al-Saeb will help change public perception towards how Qatar seeks to protect its labourers and blue-collar workers?

SA: This project will prove to the world that the local community is committed to tackle their own problems, and committed to ensure the best to those who work under hard conditions to advance Qatar’s growth.

ILQ: Tell us a bit about the engineering technology behind Al-Saeb?

RAM: The Al-Saeb safety-watch is an innovative solution containing many unique features. The product was designed in Qatar and is configurable to the customer’s requirements. All of its functions are in place to ensure workers’ safety, there’s a hear-rate monitor that acts as an early monitoring system to identify if the user is subjected to heat-stroke. There’s a motion sensor to identify if a labour worker falls from a height, or is sleeping in a dangerous location. There’s also an SOS button to call for help in case of any unforeseen incidents.

ILQ: As a developer of Al-Saeb, what’s been the most rewarding part of working on a product that has the impact to save lives?

RAM: People can do business in many ways – you can open a café, run a taxi, buy stocks etc…but we choose to run a business that gives us a feeling of fulfillment. We know that tech is not the easiest sector to work in, but we want to show the world Qatar’s innovative capacity. I would say the most rewarding part of this is the feeling that you are making a difference in people lives.

Job-site health and safety violations can be reported to Qatar's National Human Rights Committee by calling (+974) 6662-6663. Want to know more about Al-Saeb? Check out their information video below.

Do you think a product like this is a step in the right direction towards improving worker safety in Qatar? Drop us a line in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!