In recent years the construction industry has experienced fundamental changes.
While it is in crisis in countries like Spain, Portugal or even in the UK where the construction activity is quite reduced, in the Middle East, China or South America is flourishing and growing. As a consequence of the liberalization of the markets and the globalization many of the big and well established European construction companies are finding their way to survive by building out of Europe, especially in the fast developing countries of the Middle East, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
For example in Dubai the construction sector is consideredto be the key industry, the biggest source of economic growth and income for the country.
This big increase in construction and property sector has made the principality an attractive point for many international construction companies.
Since last year Dubai is also celebrating the International Health and Safety Day, and every year are taking place major improvements and regulations of the health and safety issues. Special advancement were achieved with the implementation of the Construction Safety Regulations and Standards, with which the EHS (Environment, Health and Safety, isthe regulator's bodyfor all H and S and Fire Protection issues, organization which also provides training) have ensured the existence of a legal frame work for construction activities to be carried out to a recognized international standards.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia represents 38% of the construction investments in the region. The biggest project being for $95 billion, and is expectedto house 60.000 residents.
Abu Dhabi is the largest of the emirates in the UAE, covering most of its territory. It is estimatedthat the construction projects would ascendto $200 billion in the next few years. So there is a global business for the construction industry, but as always, no international health and safety standards. Every country has its own peculiarities and requirements, which makes it difficult for contractors to ensure they create safety work environments fortheir workers without a uniform legal framework.
The region as a whole is projected to deliver by 2015 construction projects worth around $500 billion. This is a big business for these countries, so with the race of construction activities is raising every day more and more the concern about health and safety. More investment is expected in EHS products and services throughout Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
The increased construction activity had led to a boom in the work- related injuries. The statistics are showingthatone of the main reasons of work accidents is due to a total lack of PPE (Personnel Protective Equipment) orthe use of an inappropriate PPE. The other major concern for health and safety professionals in the region is the climate. In fact, the climate represents the main reason for companies and workers to use and to have access to a specific PPE, sometimes especially designed forthe hot andtough climate in the area. Recently, due to the high temperature levels the UAE government had raised the ban on midday site works for an additional 1 to 3 hours during the hottest summer months.