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Posted On: 30 April 2019 09:52 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:20 pm

Qatar Places Comprehensive Plans to Limit Work-Related Injuries

Leena Chung
Leena Chung
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H.E. Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs Yousuf bin Mohamed Al Othman Fakhroo highlighted the State of Qatar's commitment to occupational safety and health, evident in the comprehensive policies and strategies it introduced to reduce accidents, injuries and work-related diseases. His Excellency highlighted that the Qatari labor law includes provisions stipulating the necessity of complying with the requirements of occupational safety and health within the workplace and workers' housing. The law also gave plenty of powers to inspectors to ensure those regulations are met. This came during the speech of HE the Minister at the opening of the Occupational Safety and Health Conference, organized by the ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and the International Labor Organization to celebrate the occupational safety and health month. Dozens of companies government entities participated in the latter event throughout April.

H.E. the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs said that the inspection duties were adopted due to the value this government service provides to the process of ensuring the set regulations are being met effectively, and to ensure that the necessary protective measures are taken in order to prevent in occupational-related sickness or death. He revealed that the Ministry is carrying out a comprehensive plan during the summer aimed at ensuring compliance with the implementation of preventive measures and protection against heat stress. The measures includes raising awareness, visits to work sites and houses, in addition to receiving complaints, and finding violations and taking the necessary legal measures against them. His Excellency added that the ministry, in cooperation with the International Labor Organization and the participation of the designated state authorities prepared a guide on protection from heat stress. He noted that the guide has a number of tips and requirements that any place must have in order to protect workers from the dangers of heat, and to ensure that they can carry out their work at the required productivity level in all fields whether industrial, construction, and agricultural.

H.E. the minister said that celebrating World Day for Safety and Health at Work aims to shed light on ways to maintain safety and health at work, highlighting the State of Qatar's commitment to celebrating the day along with the international community due to its belief in the importance of carrying out work safely. HE the Minister said that the launch of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work during April saw the organization of a series of activities and events organized by the ministry and supported by the International Labor Organization. The events included holding workshops that explained the work of inspectors and the regulatory process undertaken to ensure the implementation of the Qatari labor law. His Excellency expressed his appreciation to the role played by local and international organizations in ensuring the promotion of occupational safety and health.

In the same context, H.E. director of the Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad Al-Thani, stressed in his speech on behalf of Minister of Public Health H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari , that the State of Qatar works in a proactive and effective way to avoid injuries and deaths in the workplace, pointing out that the death rate of workers in the country is 1.6 per 100 thousand workers, less than half the proportion in the United States of America. H.E. pointed out that occupational health is one of the areas of public health strategy (2017-2022), which aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the workplace to less than one factor per 100,000 people, in cooperation with the concerned authorities in the state to improve working conditions and the safety of everyone, he added that the health system in the State of Qatar is currently ranked fifth in the list of the best health systems in the world, and ranking the first in the Middle East, according to Legatum Institute 2019 , which is measuring and classification of health status in 149 countries. For his part , H.E. Chairman of Qatar Chamber Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani, said in his speech that the growth and economic expansion witnessed by the State of Qatar since the past two decades, necessitated the use of large numbers of employment. H.E. pointed out that Qatar Chamber is keen to encourage employers and private sector companies to provide the necessary training and qualification for workers, raise awareness and culture and abide by the occupational safety and health requirements of the worker and the employer, in order to achieve the increase and productive efficiency, and reduce the burden of accidents and occupational diseases, and benefit the public interest.

Chairman of Qatar Chamber also pointed out that the Qatar Chamber has cooperated with the official authorities in the State to develop legislation and laws that have contributed to improving the standards of living and safety of workers and encouraged the private sector to raise the level of occupational safety and health requirements, ensuring the improvement of living and working conditions, and applying the highest standards in relation to workers' rights. Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani praised the efforts exerted by those who work on all the establishments operating in the State, their keenness to adhere to the rights of workers in the various State projects and to ensure a decent standard of living for them at all times, wishing them to continue to carry out their responsibilities to promote the advancement of occupational safety and health, and to maintain the safety and health of the worker as an essential part of the true wealth of the nation.

Director of International Standards Department at the International Labor Organization stressed that deaths, injuries and illnesses resulting from work can be reduced by the development of effective prevention strategies and programs. The director commended the role of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs and its constant cooperation with the Organization and the relevant authorities locally and internationally to promote occupational safety and health, noting in this regard the organization of the month of occupational safety and health, which reached more than 15,000 workers in the state and it also formed a joint working group to develop the best solutions to occupational health and safety challenges at the national level and its role in the development of a national occupational safety and health policy. The director also said that the ministry's announcement of the publication of the manual on the prevention of thermal stress, which reflects the constant work on the application of laws and legislations in the state, aims to protect workers from the dangers of high temperatures and to ensure the safety and security while they're working.

The director also highlighted the technical cooperation between the International Labor Organization and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and social Affairs of Qatar to strengthen the labor inspection system and the development of training programs for inspectors in cooperation with the Ministry's Public Administration Institute, noting that this will be reflected on workers and society as a whole. Vice President of the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers (BWI) praised in his speech, the efforts of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs of the State of Qatar to improve the working environment and the safety and health of workers, and its cooperation with many local organizations and institutions regional and international policies, plans, strategies and action, and looked forward to the continuation of events and activities between the Ministry and the Federation to ensure the provision of safe and secure workplaces and cooperation between the two sides to share experiences and successes in the areas of security and safety. BWI Vice President noted that the State of Qatar has made significant progress in improving working conditions, especially in the World Cup projects and in housing, providing training courses, conducting inspection campaigns to achieve safety of workers and finding mechanisms to help improve their safety, reviewing the efforts of the Federation, which comprises 330 federations and organizations in 128 countries around the world, in organizing awareness campaigns about occupational safety and increasing the focus of the world on this aspect, especially since the construction sector is the most dangerous for workers due to their work in difficult climatic conditions, with heavy equipment and hazardous materials.

BWI Vice President discussed in the second session, the managing risks associated with thermal stress, the health risks of outdoor work during the summer in Qatar and the decisions taken by the State to reduce workers' exposure to direct sunlight and measures taken by the State to mitigate the effects of rising temperatures. The 3rd session will focus on workplace wellbeing, experiences and lessons learned, where participants will discuss workers' lifestyle issues including anti-smoking, proper diet, exercise and mental well-being, and programs that promote the welfare of workers in the workplace.

Source: Qatar News Agency