28 April: Continuing with the efforts to strengthen and improve occupational safety and health (OSH) in Qatar, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) supported the Third Conference & Exhibition on Occupational Safety & Health that took place in conjunction with the International Workers’ Memorial Day – 28th April 2019, concluding a series of events that took place in the country as part of OSH month.
The conference which was hosted by a number of organizations including the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA), Ministry of Public Health from Government of Qatar, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), and BWI, drew over 200 participants.
The Minister, MADLSA, H.E. Yousef Bin Mohammed Al Othman Fakhro opened the conference highlighting occupational safety and health as one of the seven priority areas in the National Health Strategy 2018-2022 and outlined activities to mark the national OSH month that covered more than 20 companies and around 15,000 workers in Qatar.
Dietmar Schafers, Deputy President of BWI in his opening remarks spoke on the importance of IWMD and trade union actions around the world to commemorate the day. He appreciated efforts of the MADLSA to realize significant improvements for safety and health of workers and commented “The BWI shall continue its engagement to further strengthen health and safety in the construction sector by strengthening labour inspectorate system, OSH committees at workplace, establishing safety officers’ network and facilitate sharing of information and resources.”
Corinne Vargha, Director of International Labour Standards Department at the ILO noted the collective work being done in Qatar for developing a proper framework for enforcement of laws and regulations and stressed on collection of reliable data pertaining to various aspects of OSH. She also mentioned about ILO’s role in providing OSH training to more than 100 labour inspectors in Qatar.
The conference had separate panel discussions on building OSH profile in Qatar, risks associated with heat stress and also Workplace well-being. The speakers included representatives from Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Foundation, SC, ILO, BMKQ, MADLSA, Qatar Red Crescent and University of Thessaly, Greece.
Ressie Fos, President, Bayanihan ng Manggagawa sa Konstruksiyon ng Qatar (BMKQ) speaking in the panel on workplace well-being called for increased workers’ involvement, workers’ centered programmes and training, regular dialogue and also recognition of labour committees and workers associations.