The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is committed to the highest standards of safety, and occupational health in all projects implemented in the country, recording nearly 100mn hours without injuries in some projects during the past nine months, the President of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) Dr Engineer Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi has said.
Delivering a speech at the opening session of the Second Occupational Safety and Health Conference, which began in Doha on Saturday, Al-Mohannadi said that Ashghal gives occupational safety and health top priority by imposing a set of standards and requirements on consulting companies, and supervisory tours to ensure compliance with these standards and the safety and security of workers in various project sites.
He noted that the company has already benefited from these efforts recording 39mn hours of work without injuries for nine months in infrastructure projects and 60mn hours in a highway project.
He also noted that the Authority has succeeded in reducing the rate of injuries to 50% in the highway programme in 2017 compared to the average incidence during the past five years (2012-2016), as well as reducing the frequency of injuries by up to 35% with the increase in the number of workers.
As for the infrastructure development programme, Ashghal, with an increase in working hours of more than 50mn hours, has reduced the casualty rate by more than 70% in 2017, the lowest in six years.
Earlier, Ashghal issued a booklet entitled "Occupational Safety Passport" which includes the most important safety procedures to be followed at various construction sites.
The booklet includes a brief summary of the procedures stipulated in the HSE management system adopted by the Authority and the most important safe working practices and how to avoid risks, such as providing vaccines to protect workers from potential health hazards at some work sites.
Al-Muhannadi also pointed out that the Authority has established a programme to conduct medical examinations for workers, such as checking blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, to avoid injuries resulting from these diseases, as well as avoid any injury that may result from the workplace.
He said that Ashghal has witnessed a remarkable increase in the rate of workers' care over the last four years in terms of availability of labour housing that meets the highest standards and requirements, the satisfaction of workers with their housing and the availability of water, ventilation and a healthy environment.
Ashghal's president referred to the co-operation of the Authority with the Ministry of Transport Communications in order to provide facilities for the use of computer and Internet connection for workers, support the digital culture among the migrant workers to their contractors, and to enable access to communication and technology in their homes, which will be reflected positively on productivity.
He also pointed to Ashghal's co-operation with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a member of the Qatar Foundation, to participate in its English language literacy programme for workers, through some of its volunteers.
He referred to Ashghal's co-operation with the General Directorate of Civil Defence in its preventive programme, which is under the slogan "Hand in Hand to prevent Risk" aiming to raise awareness through applying civil defence safety requirements in all of the Authority's buildings.
Al-Mohannadi said that Ashghal has placed the interests of workers on its list of priorities. "Therefore, it participates in international and local events related to workers to express gratitude to the expatriate workers, who contribute to building the monuments of the homeland with great dedication and determination."