The Effectiveness of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System in the United Arab Emirates

  • Hani Hossni Zurub

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business Administration


The aim of the research is to compare and investigate whether Abu Dhabi’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) based regulatory framework or the traditional/conventional framework as implemented in the other Emirates of the United Arab Emirates is more effective in controlling occupational incidents, within the Construction and Manufacturing sectors. The study was conducted to assess what is more effective and beneficial, a mandatory OHSMS based regulatory framework or traditional/conventional laws and regulations based health and safety regulatory framework, both in terms of preventing injuries and ill health as well as cultivating a positive safety culture within the organisations as well as to determine whether OHSMS has contributed to the bottom line of the business by saving hidden costs or not.

In this research, a questionnaire was developed based on the literature review and pilot interviews with industry leaders from the Construction and Manufacturing sectors. The data collection methods also included the use of focus group discussions as well as conducting face-to-face interactions with key personnel and the use of online communities through professional networks from the selected entities in the Construction and the Manufacturing sectors, where a statistically designed sample size was surveyed. The method of direct interaction was primarily used for qualitative data collection, whereas the questionnaire responses were the approach for quantitative data collection. Both types of data gathered were concurrently yet independently analysed, followed with the merging of the results and finally the interpretation of the combined results.

Based on the detailed analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data, it is concluded that there is a higher level of compliance with occupational health and safety rules and regulations in the Construction and Manufacturing companies in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi compared to the same sectors in the other Emirates due to the enforcement and the systemic monitoring of implementation of the management systems. The OHSMS based system framework is found more beneficial than the conventional occupational health and safety framework, through the evidence of reduced Lost Time Injury Frequency Rates (LTIFR) and reduced costs of occupational health and safety expenses. Improved governance and higher frequencies of training are found to be essential for effective occupational health and safety management in any company, with the aim to prevent or reduce occupational health and safety incidents. As far as the occupational health and safety governance across the United Arab Emirates is concerned, the study has demonstrated that an increase of supervision by Emirati occupational health and safety professionals has reduced the Lost time injury frequency rates. However, the overall OHS management in the United Arab Emirates was found to have a broad opportunity for improvement, starting-off with the establishment of a federal-level competent authority for the management of occupational health and safety.
Date of AwardApr 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChris Owen (Supervisor) & Prasanta Dey (Supervisor)


  • Conventional/Traditional OHS Framework
  • Regulatory OHS Framework
  • Construction and Manufacturing sectors
  • OHS Governance
  • OHS Training
  • Occupational Health and Safety

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