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National Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management System

Introduction

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (“NCEMA”) has launched the National Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management System in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) to reduce risks to staff safety. This standard is a model for preventing accidents in the workplace and has been compiled in compliance with the best international standards by a specialized team of UAE nationals.

The National Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) aims to assist institutions in developing occupational safety and health management systems according to their scope and context of operations. Furthermore, this standard can be a leadership and management tool to boost compliance with the relevant laws and regulations and ensure that occupational safety and health objectives are met at any institution. This standard also aims to continuously improve the performance of occupational safety and health, and ensure that Occupational Safety and Health risks are addressed in an organized and structured manner, as the occupational safety and health management must be institutionalized and embedded into all operations of an institution.

Objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Management System Standard:

  • To determine the occupational safety and health strategy and policy that must be implemented by institutions operating in the UAE.
  • To provide guidance to institutions with regard to the development of an occupational safety and health management system, distributing roles and responsibilities according to specific procedures.
  • Provide an occupational safety and health risk management methodology in order to identify, assess and monitor such risks, as well as procedures to prevent workplace accidents, and how to deal with them as and when they occur.

Elements of the standard occupational safety and health management system:

  • Governance
  • Occupational safety and health culture
  • Staff management
  • Occupational safety and health management
  • Occupational safety and health performance management
  • Document control

Please refer to the National Standard for Occupational Safety and Health Management System in the United Arab Emirates for further details on each element.

The national standard for the Occupational Safety and Health Management System in the UAE defines the requirements that any organization must follow for the development, implementation and maintenance of a safety and occupational health management system to manage occupational safety and health risks to mitigate their severity and impact to the lowest practicable extent.

Requirements for internal implementation of the standard in an organization:

  • Employing specialized staff (occupational safety and health officer) or delegating a replacement
  • Allocation of necessary resources
  • Forming a committee or action team to oversee the implementation of the system
  • Issuing the occupational safety and health system policy
  • Review and audit

Occupational Safety and Health System Policy:

  • 1- Define the occupational safety and health policy of the institution
    • 1.1-Taking into consideration the nature and extent of occupational safety and health risks of the institution in the workplace environment
    • 1.2-Commitment by the management to manage occupational safety and health risks and to take necessary actions
    • 1.3-Compliance with applicable legal requirements
    • 1.4-Define the objectives of the organization's safety and health management system
  • The policy should be:
    • 2.1-Documented, implemented and sustained
    • 2.2-Known to all persons employed by the institution
    • 2.3-Made available to the parties concerned
    • 2.4-Reviewed periodically to remain appropriate for the institution

The objectives of the OSH standard are summarized as follows: Repeated

  • To determine the occupational safety and health strategy and policy that must be implemented by institutions operating in the UAE.
  • To provide guidance to institutions with regard to the development of an occupational safety and health management system, distributing roles and responsibilities according to specific procedures.
  • Provide an occupational safety and health risk management methodology in order to identify, assess and monitor such risks, as well as procedures to prevent workplace accidents, and how to deal with them as and when they occur.

Scope and applicability:

The Occupational Safety and Health Management System standard defines the requirements of the occupational safety and health management system at the organizational level.

The scope and applicability of this standard shall be as follows:

  • It is applicable to governmental and private institutions, as well as international organizations operating in the UAE.
  • It is applicable to all organizations operating in the UAE, except for those located in free zones
  • The requirements specified therein shall apply to all organizations operating in the UAE of various fields, sizes, geographical locations and cultures.
  • It can be used as a guide in the development of an occupational safety and health management system of an organization and may be a mandatory requirement. For example, this standard may be included in contracts made with subcontractors as a contract clause.
  • Whenever the term "must" is used in this standard, it shall refer to mandatory procedures, whereas the term "should" refers to non-mandatory procedures.
  • This standard promotes compliance with federal and local laws and regulations, ministerial decrees and other regulations and laws in accordance with Articles 21 and 22 of the Decree Law No. (2) of 2011.
  • It guides an organization’s staff, contractors and sub-contractors to follow the occupational safety and health management system developed by the organization.
  • Occupational safety and health system requirements vary depending on the extent of risk that the institution may be subject to in occupational safety and health. Hazards range from low-risk to high-risk. An organization should comply with the specific requirements of the concerned authority in its sector in order to protect its employees and the public from any adverse effects that may result from its activities.
  • For high-risk industries, reference should be made to specific rules of practice for guidance in relation to the management of specific damage risks.

Therefore, the application of the national standard for occupational safety and health management system in the UAE by any institution operating in the UAE, shall provide

protection against workplace hazards through procedures and policies concerning the safety and health of its employees, and seek continuous improvement of procedures and safe work systems.

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