DM gets tough with health-risk camps

Spot checks carried out to monitor health and safety standards in labour accommodation across Dubai

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By  Conrad Egbert Published  November 25, 2006

Dubai Municipality has warned that it will prosecute companies operating labour camps that do not comply with health and safety regulations. Last week DM embarked on a comprehensive campaign to assess standards in labour camps across the emirate. Salem Mesmar, director of the public health department at DM and head of the recently established Committee for Environmental and Labour Health in Dubai, said: “It is of high importance that these visits are conducted without prior notice, to make sure that we receive the real picture, and that we are able to correctly identify any non-compliance with the laws.” The committee has already conducted several spot checks over the last week in the Al Muhaisina area, which is home to over 495 labour camps. Mesmar stressed that the committee will present a comprehensive report to the director general of DM, which includes an evaluation of the health and living situations in all labour camps, and its recommendations on how to improve the living conditions of labourers. The report also recommends how to improve the municipality’s services in these areas, which include public health, cleanliness, road paving, road and building numbering, and sewage systems. The committee for following up on environmental standards and health of workers will study the possibility of demolishing the buildings that cannot be maintained or renovated. It may also set restrictions on companies that rent out the land intended for use as labour camps for unrelated uses. The Committee for Environmental and Labour Health in Dubai also plans an increase in the number of health inspectors assigned to evaluate labour camps in order to improve the efficiency of the inspections and enhance the living conditions in labour camps across the emirate.

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