Abu Dhabi Municipality is enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Abu Dhabi (OSHAD) Statutory Framework, which most entities operating in Abu Dhabi must adhere to. There are 85 technical guidelines and codes of practice to understand and take action to implement. If entities do not adhere in a timely manner, fines of 50,000 AED for non-compliance can be issued.
As with many changes in regulatory frameworks, it is essential that you gain the best advice. Poor documentation and failing to implement them effectively can quickly expose entities to fines or regulatory sanctions.
Caroline Savage of Corporate OHS, a specialist local HSE consultancy, has been operating in the region for many years and provides guidance to local government, international companies, and local institutions. HSME were delighted to speak to Caroline and ask for advice on how best to approach OSHAD approval.
What is the OSHAD Statutory Framework?
The OSHAD SF (Occupational Safety and Health Abu Dhabi Statutory Framework) is an initiative developed by Abu Dhabi Government with the aim of addressing and controlling occupational health and safety risk in workplace activities.
What do Abu Dhabi businesses need to look out for in particular?
They need to be aware that obtaining initial approval is only the first step. Yes, successful OSHAD approval is achieved via the development of a comprehensive occupational safety and health management system aligned to the risk category given.
It is important to note though that successful system implementation is also key due to ongoing data collection and mandatory reporting requirements to the SRA (Sector Regulatory Authority), which is critical to the success of both the framework and ongoing business operations. This is the biggest area where we see businesses encountering issues with the regulator, failure to implement the OSHAD system correctly.
How does OSHAD affect different industries and/or size of companies?
Both the company’s activities and its size are factors that will play a part in determining the overall risk rating given to a company by its relevant SRA (Sector Regulatory Authority). The risk rating will be one of 3 categories: low, medium, or high. The difference between low where the requirements and reporting are minimal, and high where greater requirements and more regular reporting are imposed, is another area where businesses fail to comply and can be exposed to large fines.
Can existing Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (OSHMS) be modified?
Yes, absolutely. If a company has a competent in-house health and safety resource who understands the OSHAD SF requirements against their designated risk classification level, then they can modify their companies existing Occupational Health and Safety Management System to comply with the relevant OSHAD requirements. Alternatively, a health and safety consultancy or consultant will be able to complete a short gap analysis and revision project to align the company’s system for them.
How would you advise international companies doing business with Abu Dhabi?
International companies tend to often be operating to ISO or comprehensive group level HSE management systems. For them, rather than develop a system from scratch it would be far more likely to conduct a gap analysis; reviewing each element of the OSHAD requirement for their risk category against their existing system – then making adjustments to align where necessary.
Where do you get started when registering for OSHAD approval?
Companies need to first ensure that they visit the website which will give much of the information that they need including all Guidelines, Codes of Practices etc. in addition to the required forms to fill in and submit. The starting point is completing Form A and submitting it to OSHAD, by doing this the business usually has 12 months to develop and submit their OSH system to OSHAD for approval.
Is there a deadline for all companies to be compliant by?
All businesses are expected to register with OSHAD, but there is no one set deadline, rather, the deadline will be determined by when the Form A was submitted by the business and what subsequent classification was defined as applicable to the business.
Does it affect the manufacture or certification of PPE?
It does not affect the manufacturing of PPE, but businesses are required
to provide their employees with PPE (at no cost to the employee) that is manufactured to the national criteria stated in the Council of Ministers Decision No. 3 of 2016 Regarding the regulation for Personal Protective Equipment.
Must all companies operating in Abu Dhabi comply with OSHAD SF?
Some businesses are exempt from registering with OSHAD, for example aviation, nuclear, and oil and gas. If a business is in doubt about when or if they should register with OSHAD, then they should request advice from OSHAD.
Does a company need to develop and implement a health and safety management system even if the company was categorised by OSHAD as low risk?
The elements to be contained within the system will be as mandated for low risk companies. So, in practice, the business needs to review the applicable Elements and Codes of practice and decide if these requirements apply to their organisation. They should then develop their system documentation taking into account the applicable requirements that apply to their work activities.
I have an existing health and safety management system but I’m not sure if it meets OSHAD SF requirements. What should I do?
You can read through all of the OSHAD Manual, Elements, Codes of Practice, Mechanisms, Standards and Guidelines, Technical Guidelines and Forms and align your system yourself. Or you can call an expert company to review and amend your system for you.
Who is enforcing the OSHAD SF?
The OSHAD SF is enforced via the relevant SRA (Sector Regulatory Authority) responsible for the company’s activities on its trade license