Word on the street: Workplace safety

April 24, 2017

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat.

Do you think workplace safety is satisfactory in Oman?

Hakim Ansari, Senior sales executive

Safety at workplace is satisfactory in Oman as there are lesser workplace-related accidents. Authorities are doing all it takes to prevent such tragedies but companies too should do their part by conforming to safety standards.

Manpreet Singh, Businessman

Workplace safety is satisfactory in Oman. The ROP and the ministry give clearances or approvals to establishments only if safety arrangements are in place. Officials in charge of these responsibilities visit the sites in person before giving the go-ahead.

Ashraf Khalaf, Private sector employee

Safety at workplace is satisfactory in some companies but not in all. Recently, there were accidents at some workplaces. Each company should have a safety department that ensures safe work practices are followed.

Islam Sabir, Teacher

Workplace safety is satisfactory at present but recent accidents are a proof that there is still some scope for improvement. Construction sites are most prone to accidents and organisations should see that safety norms are not violated.

Obaid Osmani, Bank employee

Workplace accidents are quite rare in Oman as organisations undertake frequent safety awareness drives such as fire drills. These things prove that workplace safety is taken very seriously in Oman.

Do you think there should be stricter laws and checks on workers’ safety at construction sites?

Turki al Abri, Private sector employee

Laws should be strict for violating companies. Penalties should be imposed so that it is a lesson for others. Also, organisations should ensure that workers are insured. Regular inspections too should be undertaken to see if guidelines are being followed.

Ammar al Farsi, Accountant

I am all for stringent laws with respect to workplace safety. The government should give permits to only those establishments that follow safety regulations. Maximum accidents happen at construction sites and companies working in this field should be strictly monitored. Companies should ensure that workers attend workshops on safety measures that they can follow in case of an accident.

Nasser al Hosni, Government employee

Yes, companies need to provide a healthy environment for their workers. I see that some workers employed at construction sites do not have helmets during the summer months. Also they are exposed to a lot of dust which is quite harmful. So, it is necessary that both government and companies join hands to hold workshops on the importance of following safety rules for workers in different languages.

Balqis al Farsi, Engineer

Stringent laws should be made to protect the interests of workers especially those at construction sites. Construction companies need to follow the guidelines diligently so that any untoward incidents can be avoided.

Iradh al Khayat, Teacher
Companies should be penalised if found violating safety rules. A worker is not always to be blamed in case of an accident. Most accidents occur either because of a faulty equipment or because the workers are not trained properly. So, I think the government should make sure companies employ only trained workers.

Do you think there’s enough concern for worker safety?

Khalid al Ajmi, Civil engineer

No. Unfortunately, accidents are not reported enough in national media. I only hear about it on social media. In Arab countries in general, there’s not enough concern for Health, Safety and Environment. We still have too much of a fatalistic view of safety. There should be more media concern, and more inspections by the government.

Ganesh Krishnan, Finance manager

No, I don’t think it’s enough. Since, media is not very free in this region, not many people get to know of such accidents. There are a lot more safety measures that can be put in place. There should be safety barriers, adequate shelter and hydration should be provided to those working outdoors. Both the government and companies have to take responsibility for this.

Adeel Safdar Chacan, Legal counsel

The government enforces a midday break during summer months. But, there are drawbacks in other areas. Workers often struggle for a long time in court trying to get compensation for injuries sustained at workplace. I think providing health insurance should be made compulsory for companies. But sadly companies usually don’t want to spend more money. Also, it is important that employees are aware of safety rules and learn how to administer first aid during emergencies.

Arif Rahim, Mall manager

Yes. ROP does a good job blocking roads in construction areas to ensure safety. But more measures can be taken. For example, workers can be asked to work in evening or early morning shifts so that they don’t have to bear the daytime heat. They should also be provided adequate breaks and sustenance.

Gangatharan T, Transporter

I think Oman is doing a good job compared to other countries. Some companies are more careful than others. I don’t hear about many workplace accidents in Oman.

Should worker compensation be made mandatory by law in Oman?

Yatin Pagare, Banker

Oman has a Labour Law that protects rights of all workers. But a law should be there to give mandatory compensation to workers in the event of work-related accidents as well. Though, Oman may not have many cases of workplace accidents, it is imperative that companies give workers a sense of security by providing them a safe work environment.

Mohammad Asghar, Engineer

Labour Law in Oman has been formulated keeping in mind best interests. So, it should also make compensation mandatory for workers who suffer disability or die at workplace. Workers are like soldiers of an army.

Easmeen Sahadat, Social worker

Yes, worker compensation is not mandatory by law in Oman. However, most other countries have rules to protect the interests of workers. Most labourers are not even aware of the Labour Law.

Eng Abu Taher Chowdhury, Manager

I am sure that Oman has a strict Labour Law but people are not aware of it. I feel that every company must hold workshops so that workers can be made aware of their rights.

Amaal al Lawati , Private sector employee

We respect the laws of our country, but worker compensation should be made mandatory for a lot of reasons. A law should be such that it protects the interests of both parties.