Qatar is free from fatal accidents and infectious diseases among workers and the rare cases that happen are because of human error, HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs Dr Issa bin Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi has said.
Addressing the 1st Conference on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in Doha under the theme "Health and Safety of Workers First", he stressed that Qatar spared no effort to provide workers with the maximum levels of protection at their workplace and accommodation. "Besides, the law is enforced strictly and both companies and individuals could be prosecuted for proven violations of the applicable laws and regulations."
HE the Minister highlighted the importance of transparency and credibility in dealing with OHS issues and the exchange of information related to accidents among parties concerned as soon as they happen. "Qatar has nothing to hide or cover up in this matter."
HE Dr al-Nuaimi said Qatar's policy on this issue is based on three pillars: the presence of laws and proper procedures that protect workers at both the workplace and their accommodation; reinforcement of the control measures by trained and empowered staff to prevent any potential violation of the regulations; and spreading awareness of OHS issues among workers and employers.
He pointed out that the Labour Inspection Department has carried out thousands of inspections at workplaces and workers' accommodation to ensure that employers are compliant with the relevant laws guaranteeing workers' OHS rights. "Inspection tours have also been carried out jointly with teams from other ministries, including the Ministries of Interior, Municipality & Environment, and Public Health."
Qatar gives great importance to the occupational health and safety of local and expatriate workers, stressed HE Dr al-Nuaimi, pointing out that this important conference was organised to coincidence with the World Day for Safety and Health at Work marked on April 28 every year. It provides a platform to promote the exchange of related expertise and experiences, and enhance understanding and dialogue among the authorities concerned and stakeholders in Qatar and abroad.
Abdulaziz bin Hamad al-Ageel, secretary-general of the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), organiser of the conference, said the first edition of the meet is taking place as part of the GCC countries' inclination to implement preventive OHS measures to ensure workers' safety in all sectors by reducing work-related accident rates to zero, especially in the industrial sector.
He stressed that to achieve this target, the GCC countries have focused on workers' safety alongside the safety of buildings and the environment used for productive and economic activities.
Fayez Ali al-Mutairi, director-general of the Arab Labour Organisation, hailed the considerable care given by Qatar to occupational health and safety, protection of working environment and the promotion of human dignity.
The conference witnessed the launch of the National Book on Occupational Health and Safety, which contains government reports and OHS initiatives by private companies as well as legislative and procedural developments in Qatar.
Among the main sessions were government agencies involved with occupational health and safety, international standards in occupational health and safety, and injuries and diseases of workers: between law and practice.
The conference brought together a considerable number of keynote speakers and OHS experts from Qatar and abroad.
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