I salute Serge Zarka the host of Seven – the weekly show on MTV – for his response to my twitter request and tackling health and safety in his last episode last night.
The show talked about health and safety in general and construction in specific. I have written a lot about this subject before, but I think this subject is a vital progress we should aspire to aim for in Lebanon. It shows our respect to human dignity and protects ourselves in the end. MTV and other media should continuously spot the light on this with its endless applications and issues, but the fact it was discussed yesterday is a good start.
Construction is the most dangerous job, but the rules should apply to any job; from your office seat and your computer screen to anything else you could need to do your job.
The main point I wish to emphasize is that the implementation of the safe working practises should be the responsibility of every organisation, company and employee. The government or the state can’t fully police the system all the time, despite the need for an independent health and safety agency. The state only puts the framework and the rules, and it’s up the employers to ensure they protect their staff and the public with their compliance. Failing that, they risk prosecution and the intervention of the state, only then.
(Let’s ignore for the sake of this post that Ahmad Rambo Al-Assir flashes his weapon in the street because he can. I am not sure if we need to have safety rules for fighting).
A simple starting rule on the legal issues of safety at work should something like the employer, in any industry, should be under obligation to report any accident at work that keeps its employee away from work for more than a certain time (let’s say one or two weeks). This will keep employers under watch. They also should be under the obligation to make the working environment safer as reasonably as practicable.
The safety section of the below reportage starts @ 12:30 to 29:00. The guest spoke in reasonably good manner, although he was factually wrong on the fatalities rate in the U.S. when he said it’s 4000+ per year in the construction industry. This number is for people who died on the job across all industries. He also mistook the name of UK agency which should the Health and Safety Executive, knowing that the UK construction fatality rate last year was 0.6/100,000 workers. True they still kill their employees, but it’s one of the lowest in the world of construction, and improving.
Everyone should be asking for better health and safety rules, regulation and a better working environment in Lebanon. It’s not something related to politics or related to the current divisions. At the end of the day, it’s not unfair to ask to be safe in our jobs, any job.