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    Corporate manslaughter to take effect in the UAE

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    Corporate manslaughter to take effect in the UAE

    Post by Admin on Fri May 28, 2010 2:30 pm

    Corporate manslaughter to take effect in the UAE



    Source - constructionweekonline 18 May 2010 - http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-8356-corporate-manslaughter-to-take-effect-in-the-uae/



    Directors of construction firms in the UAE may soon face corporate manslaughter charges should a fatality occur on their site, a safety official has revealed.



    Speaking at Construction Week’s one-day Building at Height summit in Dubai’s Westin hotel on Wednesday, Dodsal’s HSE director and vice president of the Emirates Safety Group Garry Crighton confirmed that “it wouldn’t be long” before the UAE started holding company directors accountable for accidents. The new approach to health and safety, which has already been established in the UK, is reportedly gaining popularity in the region as authorities clamp down on poor health and safety practice.



    Crighton said: “New laws in the UK focus on directors and corporate manslaughter, and it won’t be long until the same thing happens here. “Some of my colleagues have already been approached by the authorities here to start sitting on panels to help them come up with a new set of rules and standards.”



    Stressing the need to focus on management, he added that it was unfair to blame accidents on safety officers, who could not implement policies, only devise them, and who had no control of health and safety budgets.



    Later in the day, he explained further how the case for targeting management was developing. “Previously, safety officers and site operators have been held responsible for accidents, but in the last two years there have been incidences of project managers and project engineers going to jail in the UAE. So we’re gradually moving up the pecking order. “The truth is that we need more focus on the management system, as many of the accidents that occur are a result of system failure.



    "There is no point in putting a hundred crane operators in jail because that isn’t going to change the system, they will continue with another hundred accidents. If you prosecute the worker who made a mistake because he hasn’t been trained properly, then you create a negative HSE culture. “But the first time you prosecute a project manager,” he added, “you know that it won’t happen on his next project, because you influence his company to say ‘don’t let this happen anymore’. The first time a director of a company goes to jail or even gets a fine, he or she will say, ‘this can never happen again’.”



    Whilst currently the law isn’t written in such a way as to hold executive management teams directly responsible for poor health and safety practice, Crighton expects the situation to change very quickly. He suggested that unlike the UK, which was slow to realise the benefits of holding top management more accountable, making changes just two-three years ago despite having a ‘cutting-edge’ reputation on these issues, authorities in the UAE were their sites fairly quickly”.



    When asked how he thought executive management teams could better live up to their responsibilities, he explained that it was important for company directors to take an interest in their own policies, but reiterated the need to retain accountability.



    “Directors need to take an interest in health and safety systems and show commitment to them,” he said. “They need to know their policy, their management system and its structure, and they need to be more familiar with health and safety best practice. “But above all they need to retain accountability, as there is a tendency for directors and top management to delegate their accountability when it suits them.



    “To be accountable, you must understand and demonstrate that knowledge. You can employ the help of HSE managers and specialists and delegate authority to them, but you must remain responsible overall.”



    He said that by doing all of this, directors can create a much more positive HSE culture


    Regards

    Admin


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