Construction

‘Follow safety guidelines or face jail’

Experts warn of the consequences contractors face by not following regional safety guidelines

A panel of experts have warned contractors operating construction sites to follow the safety guidelines for tower cranes or face serious consequences such as incarceration and the withholding of their passports.

Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by Big Project ME‘s sister magazine, Construction Machinery Middle East at PMV Live 2012, the panel said that the severe punishments faced by companies meant that they had to take the training of crane operators very seriously.

“You always need to remain vigilant,” said Andrew Henry, operations manager for the UAE at Al Habtoor Leighton. “For all our building sites, ultimately, the head contractor is responsible for the safety on the site and when something goes wrong, that’s the person the police come to.”

“Usually one thing that happens initially is that the management responsible on the site, particularly for safety, will end up being incarcerated and have their passports withheld. There are very serious consequences,” he added.

Henry said that construction firms had a responsibility to select their partners carefully, so as to ensure that safety standards are maintained at a consistently high level.

“For us as a contractor, the safety of tower cranes really starts at the inception of the project. To really comprehensively address the risks, the best place to start would be with the designers and make sure we design as much of the risk out of the proposed crane layout as possible.”

“You always have to remain vigilant and make sure you select your partners very carefully and always make sure that they share our passion for safety. In the case of tower cranes, our partners are the manufacturers, the companies we buy them from. That’s the first thing. Then the staff that these people have, they have to be qualified and share the same values that we have and not cut corners,” he explained.

“Finally, there’s the certification of the equipment, which is an ongoing, regular thing,” Henry said. “We need to make sure that we have faith in the organisation doing the certification, and that they know what they’re doing and are completely independent.”

Also present during the panel discussion at PMV Live 2012 were Engineer Alia Ismail, head of the Inspection Bodies Accreditation Section at Dubai Municipality, Dr Peter Schiefer, CEO of Wolfkran and current chairman of the Committee for European Construction Equipment – Tower Cranes Section.

Also present were Thibault Le Besnerais, global product director of Mantiowoc’s Potain Tower Crane line and Richie Colley, regional listing operations manager of Velosi. Stephen White, group editor of CPI Construction hosted the discussion.

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