Increasing working class awareness of human rights has led to the growth and widespread acceptance of the concept of ‘health and safety at work’, which is necessary for both moral and legal reasons as well as financial reasons. The health and safety of workers in any occupation or occupation is essential to increasing their efficiency and productivity. Occupational health and safety, also called OHS, is responsible for providing the Employer with the safety of all employees working for him and related to his business against all occupational hazards. Occupational diseases are diseases that the worker suffers due to the nature of his work. It is part of the occupational hazards.
Due to the widespread awareness of occupational diseases and the efforts of the ILO (International Labor Organization) to protect workers from such hazards, most countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have prepared laws that provide employers with protective and safety measures to prevent occupational accidents. regulation of the labor relations law, which is the federal law on occupational diseases. 8 of 1980 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the law’) enumerated such measures. In this article, the measures to be taken by the employer to protect workers from occupational hazards and occupational diseases, and the employer’s responsibilities to the worker in case the worker is diagnosed with an occupational disease are discussed.
As part of the safety measures against occupational diseases, the law imposes a duty on the employer to provide workers with adequate means of protection against the dangers of occupational accidents and diseases that may occur during work. The measures are as listed below:
1. The first precaution that the employer should take is about awareness. Workers should be made aware of occupational hazards and diseases to which they are exposed during work. The employer should post detailed instructions on the measures taken to prevent fire and to protect workers from hazards while performing their work, in a conspicuous place in the workplace. Such instructions will appear in Arabic and other languages that workers understand as all workers must understand the instructions.
2. The employer is obliged to appoint a physician to carry out a full health examination every six months and to examine the signs of occupational diseases. The results of such examinations should be recorded by the employer. If any worker’s inspection reports reveal signs of any occupational disease, the labor department should be notified.
3. The employer, together with the Minister of Health, will provide the workers with medical care vehicles in accordance with the standards set by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.
4. The employer is also obliged to take all other safety measures determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Safety equipment and clothing will be provided to the worker for protection from hazards.
5. Apart from this, the employer is also obliged to provide first aid facilities for the workers. The cleaning and ventilation of the workplace should comply with the standards of the Ministry of Health. In addition, suitable lighting, drinking water and hygienic sanitary facilities will be provided by the employer.
Program no. 1 of the law, poisoning with lead and its compounds, poisoning with mercury and its compounds, poisoning with arsenic and its compounds, poisoning with antimony and its compounds, poisoning with phosphorus and its compounds, petroleum, its products, compounds and by-products, poisoning with manganese and its compounds, Intoxication with sulfur minerals and compounds, Intoxication with petroleum, its gases, compounds and by-products, Intoxication with chloroform and carbonic tetrachloride, Illness caused by radium or radioactive substances (x-rays), Chronic skin diseases, skin and eye burns, Due to heat and light damage to the eyes and their complications, Lung diseases caused by Silica Dust, Asbestos (Asbestos dust) or cotton dust, Anthrax, Edema, Tuberculosis and Typhoid Fever.
The law also provides compensatory benefits for a worker diagnosed with an occupational disease. The first aid that the employer must provide is medical care. The employer bears all costs for the worker’s treatment at an official or private local medical center until the worker recovers or is proven disabled by medical examinations. Such treatment will include hospitalization or a sanatorium stay, surgeries, x-ray and medical analysis, medications and rehabilitation equipment, and the supply of artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices when disability is detected. The employer is also obliged to cover all transportation costs during the treatment process.
If the worker is unable to work due to illness, the employer pays him a full wage allowance for the entire treatment period or for a period of six months. The duration of treatment is more than six months. The allowance is halved for the period following six months or until the worker fully recovers, is declared disabled or passes away.
The law provides for compensation in case of permanent partial disability of the worker. In such cases, a chart is provided with the law in which the amount of compensation is provided according to the type and degree of disability.
Compensation for permanent and complete disability is similar to compensation for the death of the worker due to occupational hazard or illness. In case of death, compensation is paid to the family of the worker. Compensated family members are those in the family who are wholly or largely dependent on the deceased worker. Therefore, beneficiaries include:
2. Children, namely:
a. Sons younger than 17, younger than 24 and regularly enrolled in academic institutions, and sons who are mentally or physically incapable of making a living on their own. The term “sons” shall include the sons of the spouse or husband who were dependent on the deceased worker at the time of his death.
b. Unmarried daughters, including unmarried daughters of the husband or wife who were dependent on the deceased worker at the time of his death.
4. Siblings according to the conditions set for boys and girls.
In case of death of the worker, the amount of compensation to be paid is equal to the basic wage of the worker for 24 months. The lower limit of this compensation amount has been determined as eighteen thousand dirhams and the upper limit as thirty-five thousand dirhams. The last wage of the worker is taken into account when calculating the basic wage.
Such compensation will not be given to the worker in the following cases:
1. The worker is deliberately injured to commit suicide.
2. The worker is deliberately injured in order to receive the amount of compensation.
3. The worker is deliberately injured due to sick leave.
4. At the time of the accident, the worker is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
5. The worker deliberately violated the employer’s safety instructions.
6. The worker is injured due to his serious fault.
7. The worker’s refusal to undergo a periodic medical examination for the diagnosis of an occupational disease without just cause.