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The Qatar 2022 World Cup: Health & Safety in the Construction Industry

An issue that often hits the headlines is that of Health and Safety in the construction Industry. This article focuses on this issue in Qatar in relation to the construction of the World Cup facilities that will be needed.

According to a report, Qatar is forecast to have the fastest growing construction market in the world soon, with an average growth of 10% a year between 2012 and 2025. With spends estimated around £3.1bn on works related to the World Cup, Qatar will also build 9 stadiums and renovate 3 more. 

For fans and football players, the media has highlighted the need for a solution to the extreme heat that could create issues of heat exhaustion or worse, but the media has not really touched upon the issue of health & safety from the point of view of the workers who will be constructing the event facilities.

Delving deeper, it could be said that issues of timely payment, immigration procedures and access to water and breaks on site could be looked at, particularly amongst the trades & labour force.  Qatar is argued to be lagging behind in regulation and legislation by refraining from abolishing the Kafala system outraging human rights activists. A researcher argues that a large majority of the Qataris and authorities understand the need for change but for some reason are not putting plans into action that would stop further damage to Qatar’s reputation.

On the other hand, In a response to international criticism, Qatar has engaged in procedures that seek to improve payment of wages by becoming stricter on employers, enhancing worker leisure and recreation opportunities and improving the living and working conditions for the foreign workers who make up 94% of the Qatari construction workforce.

Officials that are responsible for organising the World Cup issued a Workers’ Charter earlier this year that pledged to meet international standards. The Qatar Foundation, the institution that funds educational and social projects, is working on a similar charter. Steps are being taken to address the situation and the committee has explained that even though work is yet to commence directly on the World Cup construction site, the committee are said to be investigating companies who are decreasing Qatar’s chances of “accelerating human and social development in Qatar”. 

In a response to a news article, the 2022 committee said: “The health, safety, well-being and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup are of the utmost importance……we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar.”

Acknowledging concerns about Health and Safety, the Qatar government is also trying to make sure that construction firms are operating in a manner compliant with International labour standards as well as enforcing existing Qatari law. An indication of how seriously Qatar is taking construction safety can certainly be seen in the surge of Health and Safety roles being created and that we have available for suitably qualified and talented professionals.

If you have a comment on this issue we would be interested to hear from you.
If you are interested in being considered for a construction health and safety role in Qatar or elsewhere in the Middle East, please submit your updated CV in Word format via the Maxim Recruitment website to allow us to match you to a suitable role and discuss it further with you.

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