Health & Safety in the Middle East

Creating a safety culture is paying off


People from all over the world come to the Middle East to work on tremendous projects. That makes safety a key priority, as well as a challenge to overcome.


Health & Safety in the Middle East

Creating a safety culture is paying off


People from all over the world come to the Middle East to work on tremendous projects. That makes safety a key priority, as well as a challenge to overcome.


There’s big, then there’s big in the Middle East. The industrial projects in this part of the world often boast dozens of superlatives. And when employees from different cultures speaking many different languages come together in oftentimes extremely hot, humid and dusty places, safety on site can indeed be a challenge. On top of that, people are working at height, in confined spaces or braving other physical challenges on a daily basis. That’s where a deeply rooted safety culture comes in as the glue that keeps everything together.

Health and safety goes beyond ensuring that employees are not adversely affected physically. As many team members come for extended work contracts, this often means being away from their families for long periods of time in remote areas. That’s why it’s important to focus on mental health as well. From ‘camp uncles’ that people could always talk to one-to-one, cinema evenings and fitness programmes to dinners with management and yoga programmes, health and safety is looked at holistically and proactively.

Safety from the ground up and the top down

Under the leadership of CEO and Regional Director of KAEFER in the Middle East, Ramneek Datt, management has regulated safety norms across the projects in the region and developed safety leadership in line management. On sites, the workforce was empowered to raise issues and concerns in safety committees, which went a long way in creating a culture of openness and transparency. Then there was the CHSE Safety Culture Training Programme aimed at line management and local management. In addition to raising awareness and fostering safety at managerial level, it has led to a trickle-down effect and was supported by a variety of safety awareness campaigns, such as COVID-19 related programmes, water drinking initiatives and mental health and sports programmes.

This has paid off, resulting in many safety awards from clients and, to name just one example, in 2020 KAEFER in Saudi Arabia has managed 51 million Lost Time Incident Frequency-free working hours.

The safety culture in the Middle East and at KAEFER in the region has improved substantially in the last several years. Much of this is down to the concerted effort made to get the entire organisation to work towards vision ZERO. It’s an ambitious target, yet when health and safety is looked at holistically and integrated into the company culture, it can become second nature. And the people working not just in the Middle East, but throughout the organisation are better off as a result.


You might also find 'Health & Safety Update' interesting.