This is the second article in my series on UAE health, safety, and environmental (HSE) regulatory requirements, which is part of a wider discussion of the HSE regulatory landscape across the countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
In previous article, I discussed the competent authorities across the UAE.
In this article I summarize the key federal laws and regulations that provide the overarching requirements for occupational health and safety, fire safety and environmental protection across the UAE.
All worker health and safety regulatory requirements in the UAE, both at the federal and state levels, ultimately arise from a few key pieces of legislation. These are the basic worker health and safety requirements for all establishments in the UAE and these fundamental regulatory requirements are discussed below.
The recently adopted Labor Law (Federal Decree Law 33/2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relationships) replaced the earlier Labor Law No. 8/1980 and is the foundation of all legislation and regulations related to worker health and safety in the UAE.
The Labour Law applies apply to all establishments, employers and workers in the UAE private sector and contains some important definitions:
|Employer||Every natural or legal person, who employs one or more workers in return for a wage.|
|Worker||Every natural person authorised by the Ministry to work for one of the licensed establishments in the State, under supervision and direction of the employer.|
|Workplace||The work location agreed upon in the employment contract, or in which the worker undertakes the agreed tasks and services for the employer.|
|Work Injury||Being exposed to one of the occupational diseases specified in the table issued by a resolution of the Cabinet, or any other injuries arising therefrom, due to or occurring in the course of work. Any injury should be considered a work injury if it is proven that the accident happened to the worker during the period of his commute to and from work, without interruption or deviation from the normal route.|
Thus, worker health and safety requirement apply to worker at the office or job site, in transit and also while working at home if the latter has been agreed upon with the employer.
The law is generic in nature with respect to HSE matters, containing general duty-of-care provisions that applies to all workplaces and employees across the UAE as per clauses of Article 13:
13.6 Employer’s Obligations: Providing the necessary means of prevention to protect workers from the risks of occupational diseases and injuries that may occur during work, ensuring the provision of regulations on guidance and awareness, providing appropriate training for workers to avoid such risks, conducting periodic evaluation to ensure that all parties to the employment relationship comply with and meet the requirements of health and occupational security and safety, in accordance with the provisions of this Decree Law, its Implementing Regulation and the legislation in force in this regard.
13.13 Employer’s Obligations: Providing a safe and appropriate work environment.
Worker obligations with respect to health and safety are given in Article 16.6:
16.6 Worker’s Obligations: Implementing the occupational safety and health instructions prescribed at the establishment as per the legislation in force or work regulations and instructions.
Language requirements are given in Article 66.2:
Article 66.2 The employer shall use the Arabic language in concluding contracts with the workers, in writing and publishing instructions and circulars which it shall issue, provided that there shall be another language, beside the Arabic, which is understood by the non-Arabic speaking worker, taking into account that the text in the other language matches the Arabic text. In case of divergence, the Arabic text shall prevail.
Employer’s liability for work injuries is described in Articles 37 and 38:
Article 37 Compensation for Work Injuries and Occupational Diseases: The employer shall, in case the worker has a work injury or an occupational disease:
- Bear the expenses of the worker’s treatment until he recovers and is able to return to work or proves his disability, in accordance with the conditions, rules and procedures specified by the Implementing Regulation hereof.
- If the work injury or occupational disease prevents the worker from performing his work, the employer shall pay to the worker an amount equivalent of his full wage throughout the treatment period or for (6) six months, whichever is less. If the treatment period exceeds (6) six months, the worker shall obtain half wage for another (6) six months, or until the worker is cured or his disability or death is proven, whichever is earlier.
- If the work injury or occupational disease led to the death of the worker, his family shall be entitled to compensation equal to the basic wage of the worker for (24) twenty-four months, provided that the compensation amount is not less than (AED 18,000) eighteen thousand UAE Dirham and not more than (AED 200,000) two hundred thousand UAE Dirham.
Article 38 Cases of the Worker’s Non-entitlement of Work Injury Compensation: The worker shall not be entitled to work injury compensation if it is proven through the investigations of the competent authorities that any of the following cases takes place:
- The worker deliberately caused injury to himself for any reason.
- The injury took place under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other psychotropic substances.
- The injury took place as a result of a deliberate violation of the declared preventive instructions at visible areas in the workplace, as defined by the Implementing Regulation hereof.
- The injury took place as a result of wilful misconduct by the worker.
- The worker refused, without a serious reason, to be examined or follow the treatment specified by the medical entity.
Penalties for violation of the Law are given in Articles 63 and 64.
Article 63: Any person, who violates any other provision of this Decree- Law, its Implementing Regulation and the resolutions issued for its implementation, shall be punished with a fine of not less than (AED 5,000) five thousand UAE Dirham and not more than (AED 1,000,000) one million UAE Dirham.
Article 64: In case of repeating any of the violations mentioned in this Decree-Law, its Implementing Regulation and the resolutions issued for its implementation, before the lapse of one year since the perpetrator of a similar violation has been punished, then the perpetrator shall be punished by imprisonment, along with doubling the fine stipulated herein or one of these penalties.
The implementing regulations for Law 33/2021 – Cabinet Resolution No. 1/2022 On the Implementing Regulation of Federal Decree Law No 33/2021 – came into force on 2 February 2022.
HSE requirements are given in Article 22 Safety, Protection and Health Care of Workers:
- Every employer shall:
- a. Provide the necessary means of prevention to protect workers from the risks of injuries and occupational diseases that may occur during working hours, as well as the fire hazards and the other risks that may result from the use of the machines and other work tools. He shall likewise use all the other methods of prevention prescribed by the Ministry in this regard.
- b. Put in a visible place at the workplace detailed and clear instructions on the means of preventing fires and protecting workers from the risks they may be exposed to while on duty, the methods of preventing them and the manner of dealing with accidents caused by them, provided that the instructions are in Arabic and in another language that the workers understand when necessary. He shall likewise put warning signs ahead of the hazardous areas.Inform his workers prior to commencement of duty of the risks of their occupation, such as fire hazards, machines, risks of falls, occupational diseases and others.
- c. Inform his workers prior to commencement of duty of the risks of their occupation, such as fire hazards, machines, risks of falls, occupational diseases and others.
- d. Entrust first-aid supervision to a medical aid specialist and provide all the necessary supplies in each first aid kit.
- e. Provide the necessary means to prevent fires as well as the appropriate extinguishers for the materials found at the establishment and the materials used in the industries.
- f. Take the necessary measures to continually ensure that the conditions in the workplace provide adequate health and safety protection for the workers working at the establishment.
- g. Take the appropriate practical measures to prevent, reduce or eliminate health hazards in the workplace..
- h. Take the necessary precautions to protect the workers from the risks of falling, falling objects, flying shards, sharp objects, caustic or hot liquids, flammable or explosive materials or any other materials with a harmful effect, and take the necessary precautions to protect the workers from hazards of compressed gases and electricity.
- i. Put signs at the location of the machines or the location of the various operations showing the type of necessary technical instructions in Arabic and in another language that the workers understand when necessary.
- The worker shall use the protective equipment and the clothes he is provided with. He shall follow all the employer’s instructions aimed at protecting him from risks and shall refrain from any act that would interfere with those instructions. He shall follow the orders and instructions related to work safety and security precautions and shall use the means of prevention and undertake to take care of those in his possession. He shall be prohibited from any act that results in the failure to follow the aforementioned instructions or in the misuse, damage or destruction of the means designed to protect the health and safety of workers. The employer may include a regulation of penalties for every worker who violates the provisions of this Clause.
Requirements related to work injury requirements are given in Article 23:
- In the event that the worker suffers a work injury or an occupational disease, the employer shall pay the costs of treatment of the worker pursuant to the following conditions and rules:
- a. The worker shall be treated in one of the governmental or private healthcare facilities.
- b. The cost of treatment shall continue to be paid until the worker recovers or his disability is established.
- c. The treatment shall include the hospital stay, surgical procedures, costs of X-rays and medical analyses as well as the purchase of medications and rehabilitation equipment and the provision of artificial and prosthetic limbs and devices for those whose disability is established.
- d. The cost of treatment shall include the transportation costs incurred by the worker’s treatment.
- The worker shall follow the orders and instructions related to work security and safety precautions and he shall use the means of prevention and undertake to take care of those in his possession. The worker shall be prohibited from any act that results in the failure to follow the instructions or in the misuse, damage or destruction of the means designed to protect the health and safety of workers.
- The worker shall not be entitled to compensation for a work injury if it is established through the competent authorities that the injury resulted from a deliberate violation of the preventive instructions put in visible places at the workplace, provided that the employer complies with the following rules:
- a. Making the worker aware of the detailed instructions on the means of preventing fires and protecting him from the risks he may be exposed to while on duty, in Arabic and in another language that the worker understands when necessary.
- b. Informing the worker prior to commencement of work of the risks of his occupation and requiring him to use the prescribed means of prevention as well as providing the appropriate personal protective equipment for workers and training them to use such equipment.
- c. Training the worker on the safety methods set out in the instructions on worker protection.
- d. Educating the worker, upon his employment, about the risks of his occupation and the means of protection he is required to use, and placing detailed written instructions in this regard at the workplace.
- If a work injury or an occupational disease leads to the death of the worker, the compensation shall be paid to his eligible beneficiaries in accordance with the legislation in force in the State, or as determined by the worker prior to his death.
Fire and life safety regulatory requirements in the UAE, both at the federal and state levels, ultimately arise from a few key pieces of legislation. While these are some of the most important legal requirements concerned with protecting worker safety (not to mentioned assets like buildings) they are often not well understood by HSE practitioner on site.
Articles 22 and 23 of the implementing regulations for Law 33/201 (Cabinet Resolution No. 1/2022 ) provides general duty-of-care provisions for fire safety:
Article 22 Safety, Protection and Health Care of Workers:
- Every employer shall:
- Provide the necessary means of prevention to protect workers from the risks of … fire hazards… that may result from the use of the machines and other work tools.
- Put in a visible place at the workplace detailed and clear instructions on the means of preventing fires….. provided that the instructions are in Arabic and in another language that the workers understand when necessary.
- Inform his workers prior to commencement of duty of the risks of their occupation, such as fire hazards…
- Provide the necessary means to prevent fires as well as the appropriate extinguishers for the materials found at the establishment and the materials used in the industries.
The Directorate General of the Civil Defence’s (DSD) UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice 2018th Edition (UAE Fire Code) outlines the national standards for fire safety systems in buildings, which are based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global self-funded non-profit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. NFPA codes and standards are adopted by governments, businesses, and organizations around the world.
The stated purpose of the Fire Code is to inscribe minimum guidelines that must be followed for determining design, construction, modification and installation of buildings, structures, occupancies, fire detection systems, fire protection systems, fire prevention systems, and life safety systems.
The Fire Code explicitly states that “Where the stakeholders and parties have to go through multiple organizations and departments at individual Emirates… the minimum requirements of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice shall surpass all other requirements unless the other requirements are higher than the latest edition of the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice”.
During HSE audits, we often find facilities are non-compliant with the Fire Code. When we raise these issues the typical response back from the responsible parties at the facility is that the facility has been issued the necessary have Civil Defence permits (e.g., operating permit, flammables materials storage permit, etc.) and have in place a fire protection system maintenance contract with an approved vendor, etc. While this is good, these permits and maintenance contracts alone do not does not alleviate the potential liability of a company that operates a facility that is non-compliant with the Fire Code requirements.
A detailed discussion of the UAE Fire Code is outside the scope of this article (the Fire Code is 1,348 pages long!). Instead, I encourage you to obtain a copy of the UAE Fire Code and review the aspects that affect your facility (it is freely available from the Government of Dubai website).
All environmental regulatory requirements in the UAE, both at the federal and state levels, ultimately arise from a few key pieces of legislation. These are the basic environmental requirements for all establishments in the UAE and these fundamental regulatory requirements are discussed below.
Prior to 1999, only a few laws or regulations at the federal level focused on environmental matters and these have largely been replaced and are little importance today. That changed in 1999 with the publication in the UAE Official Gazette on 28 October 1999 of Federal Law 24/1999 Protection and Development of the Environment. This is the single most important piece of environmental legislation and is the overarching environmental law in the UAE.
Key definitions and articles include:
|Competent Authorities||Local authorities in each Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.|
|Environmental Degradation||The effects diminishing the value, deforming the nature, depleting the resources or harming living beings or archaeological sites of the environment.|
|Environmental Pollution||Pollution caused naturally or unnaturally by the direct or indirect, intentional or unintentional introduction of any polluting materials or factors into natural environmental elements, thus resulting in any danger to the human health, botanical or animal life or harm to the environmental resources and ecosystems.|
|Hazardous Substances||Solid, liquid or gaseous substances having properties capable of harming human health, or having an adverse impact on the environment, such as toxic, explosive, inflammable or ionizing radioactive substances.|
|Harmful Substances||All materials, whether chemical, biological or radioactive, causing direct or indirect harm to the human health or the environment.|
|Hazardous Wastes||Residues or ashes of different activities and operations containing properties of hazardous substances|
Articles 3 to 8 describe licensing of projects, and that the Ministry will set the regulations for the environmental assessment and licensing of new projects:
- Identification of categories of projects which may cause environmental damages and which require and assessment.
- Identification of environmentally important or sensible areas and locations (historical and archaeological locations, wetlands, coral reefs, natural reserves, public parks, etc.).
- Identification of natural reserves and environmental problems of special importance.
- Environmental effects are to be assessed and the project or construction may not start prior to the review of the assessment and granting a license by the competent authority.
- Approved projects are to carry out regular analysis of wastes, monitor the specifications of discharge and pollutants generated from the project, keep monitoring records and send reports of such results to the competent authorities.
Articles 9 to 12 broadly describes the environment and sustainable development goals, and that planning and economic development shall take into account the aspects of protection of the environment, control of pollution, and rational use of natural resources.
Articles 13 and 14 describe the Ministries responsibility to establish an environment monitoring network.
Articles 15 and 16 relate to the government’s requirements to plan for environmental emergencies and disasters.
Articles 17 to 20 relate to protection of the aquatic environment from pollution:
- Coasts, beaches and ports, living and non-living natural resources, and drinking and groundwater are to be protected from pollution.
- Exploration and extraction of onshore and offshore oil and gas fields shall be prohibited from discharging any polluting substances into the aquatic environment or land areas in the vicinity of the activities, unless measures preventing damages to the land and aquatic life are adopted, and discharged waste and polluting substances are treated by available up-to-date technical systems in accordance with the conditions provided for in approved regional and international conventions and protocols.
- The Ministry will develop guidelines of the conditions for environmental safety and waste management resulting from the production, transportation and exploitation of oil and gas.
- Concerned parties will periodically monitor environmental effects resulting from the exploration, extraction and exploitation of oil and gas undertaken in production fields and land and marine transportation routes.
Articles 21 to 34 relate to protection of the marine environment from pollution by marine transportation:
- Prohibited to discharge or dispose of oil or oil mixtures, hazardous substances or wastes from marine vessels into the marine environment.
- Prohibited to discharging sewage water or wastes into the marine environment.
- Requirements to take measures to against the effects of pollution in the event of an accident, and the owner and the transporter shall jointly bear all expenses of the damages, compensations and control measures carried out as a result of the spillage into the marine environment, coasts and beaches.
Articles 35 to 38 relate to protection of the of the marine environment from pollution by land sources::
- Prohibited to discharge or dump any untreated substances, wastes or liquids that may directly or indirectly cause the pollution of the aquatic environment.
- Establishments on or near the coastline discharging pollutants require studies on environmental effects and must provide waste treatment units.
Articles 39 to 41 relate to protection of drinking and groundwater and that competent authorities will determine safety rules for drinking water tanks and fittings, and suitability for human consumption.
Articles 42 to 47 relate to protection of soils:
- Prohibited to carry out any activity contributing directly or indirectly to damaging and affecting the natural properties or polluting the soil in a way that affects its productivity.
- Prohibited to undertake any activity damaging the quantity or quality of the flora in any region which leads to the desertification or deformation of the natural environment. It is also prohibited to cut, deracinate, or harm any tree, bush or grass without authorization from the competent authority.
- The State shall establish regulations governing the types of pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural additives that may be produced, manufactured, imported, handled or used in the State; will set permissible restrictions and limits of pesticide residues in locally produced or imported foods; and shall set restrictions and conditions to be observed for disposing of pesticide wastes or chemical compounds used in their manufacture.
Articles 48 to 57 describes protection of air from pollution:
- Emissions from facilities, machines, engines or vehicles not to exceed the maximum permissible limits.
- Prohibited to throw, treat or burn solid garbage and wastes except in places designated for such purposes.
- Prohibited to spray or use pesticides or any other chemical compounds for agricultural purposes, public health requirements or any other purpose except by abiding by the conditions, restrictions and guarantees set by the implementing regulations.
- Precautions are to be taken during excavation, digging, construction or demolition works or the transportation of the produced wastes or dirt, to prevent dispersion of wastes or dust.
- All activities involved with combustion of hydrocarbons shall ensure that emissions smoke, gases, and vapors are within the permissible limits, that precautions are taken to reduce the quantity of pollutants, monitoring records are maintained of amounts of pollutants in combustion emissions, and precautions taken to reduce such quantities.
- Noise generated from production, service or other activities, equipment, warning devices and loudspeakers, shall not exceed the permissible limits for at the works site and at the property boundary.
- Sufficient ventilation must be provided at all work locations and air quality within permissible limits and/or necessary protection means provided to workers to minimize exposure to such pollutants.
- Closed and semi-closed public places shall be equipped with sufficient ventilation for to the size and capacity of the place and type of activity to ensure the circulation, cleanliness and adequate temperature of the air.
- Public and touristic establishments shall take necessary measures to prohibit smoking in closed public areas except within the permissible limits provided for in the license issued to such establishments. In such event, a special smoking zone shall be allocated in a way not affecting the air in other locations. Smoking shall also be prohibited in public transportation or elevators.
Articles 58 to 62 describes handling of hazardous substances and hazardous and medical wastes:
- Prohibited to handle or deal with hazardous substances and hazardous and medical wastes without a license from the competent authorities.
- Hazardous and medical wastes shall be disposed of in accordance with the conditions and standards determined by the implementing regulations. It is prohibited to establish any installation for the treatment of hazardous wastes without a license issued by the competent authorities.
- Persons in charge of the production or handling of hazardous substances, whether in gas, liquid, or solid states, shall take all necessary precautions to ensure that no damages occur to the environment.
- The owner of an establishment with activities that generate hazardous wastes shall keep a record of such wastes and the means of the disposal and the contracting sides for the receipt thereof.
- Prohibited to import hazardous wastes, and it is prohibited to allow the passing of marine, air or land transportation means carrying hazardous or nuclear wastes through the marine, air or land environment without a written authorization from the Agency.
Articles 63 to 68 relate to natural reserves:
- Prohibited to carry out activities and acts in reserve areas, which may cause the deterioration or damage of the natural environment, harm to the wild or marine life, or affect their aesthetic value, shall be determined, including:
- Hunting, transporting, killing or harming wild or marine beings, or carry out actions leading to their eradication.
- Damaging or destroying geological or geographical formations, or areas deemed as natural habitats or a breading land to certain animal or plant species.
- Introducing foreign species into the reserve.
- Polluting the soil, water or air of the reserve.
- Military manoeuvres and shooting practices.
- Cutting trees or baring the soil.
- Amusement and recreational activities, or sports that can kill, harm or adversely affect the natural life.
- All matters disturbing the natural balance of such reserves.
- Prohibited to erect facilities or buildings, construct roads, drive vehicles or carry out any agricultural, industrial or commercial activities in the reserve areas without a permit issued by the competent authorities.
Articles 69 to 72 relate to liability and compensation for environmental damages and that any person intentionally or by way of negligence causes damages to the environment shall be responsible for all the costs of treatment or removal of such damages and be responsible for any compensation incurred as a result.
Articles 73 to 90 discuss violations, which include fines ranging from AED 2,000 to AED 10 million and/or imprisonment of three months to life.
Promulgation of the Environment Law of 1999 and the formation of the Federal Environment Agency started a new era for environmental regulations in the UAE. This was followed in 2001 by the release of the Executive Regulations, which also included details for hazardous substances and wastes, environmental permits, and pesticides (since replaced). Since then many additional laws and regulations that referenced environmental matters have been released, but the Environmental Law and implementing regulations remain the foundation of environmental regulatory requirements across the UAE.
Cabinet Decision No. 37/2001 On the Executive Regulations of Federal Law 24/1999 for the Protection and Development of the Environment contains four main parts that include some of the key requirements referred to in Federal Law 24/1999:
- Regulations for the protection of the marine environment.
- Regulations for handling hazardous substances, hazardous and medical wastes.
- Regulations for the environmental assessment of establishments.
- Regulations for pesticides, agricultural additives and fertilizers (since replaced).
Articles 2 to 10 refer to discharge of pollution from vessels and carriers:
- Requirements for discharge of oil or oil mixtures from oil tankers.
- Requirements for cargo ports, ports for oil tankers and vessels repair basins related to (1) dirty ballast water or water resulting from washing the tanks of oil tankers or carriers of harmful liquid substances as well as other cargo vessels, (2) wastes and sediments from oil, oil mixture and sewage water discharged from marine transportation means anchored in the port, and (3) the reception of wastes from marine platforms.
- Inspection and certification of oil tankers.
- Notification of oil spills and leaks.
- Record keeping related to oil shipment, transfers, loading/unloading, etc.
- Oil spill response plans and oil spill control equipment.
- Reporting on hazardous substances for ships entering ports.
Articles 11 to 14 refer to discharge of sewage to the marine environment:
- Sizes of ships for which these regulations apply.
- Inspection and issuance of certification of vessels.
- Requirements for sewage discharges from ships.
Articles 15 to 20 refer to pollution from marine platforms:
- Emergency plans.
- Requirements for use of chemicals and oi-based drilling fluids.
- Disposal of solid wastes and sewage.
- Decommissioning, including removal of the platforms and cleaning and burying of pipelines.
Articles 21 to 22 refer to pollution to the marine environment from land sources and provide tables of permissible limits for such discharges.
Articles 23 and 24 include administrative provisions, including that employees of the responsible Ministry have the power to inflict sanctions for non-compliance.
Articles 1 to 4 describe licensing procedures for hazardous substances and hazardous and medical wastes.
Articles 5 describes hazardous chemical import procedures.
Articles 6 and 7 describes requirements for hazardous chemical transportation:
- Safe driving practices.
- Type, size and labelling of containers.
- Vehicle markings, driver training, and record-keeping.
Articles 8 and 9 describe requirements for hazardous chemical storage and handling:
- Design of hazardous materials warehouse to limit the danger of fire, spillage and injuries.
- Storage area for hazardous materials to be protected from sun and rain, provided with adequate fire safety measures, and to carry out periodic inspections.
- Stocking of hazardous substances to be done in accordance with the UN classification system and with appropriate segregation and to maintain a complete records of hazardous substances.
- Emergency response plans and to deal with spills and leaks in accordance with data in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS), disposal of damaged containers, and record-keeping.
- Safe handling to protect workers and the environment.
Articles 10.1, 10.2, 13 and 14 refer to requirements for hazardous waste generators:
- Minimize hazardous waste generation.
- Maintain records of the quantity and quality of generated waste, waste collection, transporters, treatment and disposal.
- Store wastes in a secure and safe area, with appropriate containers and labels
- Either build, operate and license waste treatment units at the source, use a qualified and licensed vendor to collect and transport the waste for disposal in a timely manner.
- Buildings used to handle or store wastes are provided with safety, alarm, protection and fire fighting equipment systems and devices as well as first aid in adequate quantities and numbers for the size of the operation.
- Contingency plans for incidents that may occur during the production, storage, and handling of wastes.
- Workers handling hazardous substances and wastes undergo periodic medical check-ups.
Article 10.3 refers to requirements for hazardous waste transporters:
- Transporters must have the appropriate license to collect and transport hazardous transport hazardous waste.
- Vehicles must be equipped with appropriate safety measures, including containment of hazardous in even of a leak, markings, and safety plans.
- Truck capacity must adequate to the quantities of hazardous wastes transported.
- Vehicles must be driven by trained, qualified and licensed drivers.
- Transport routes must be determined, and Civil Defence must be notified immediately of any changes to the route.
Article 10.4 refers to requirements for hazardous waste treatment and disposal:
- Location must meet a number of criteria such as distance from urban areas, fencing, exit and gates, equipment, warehousing, etc.
- Requirements for treatment of wastes for reuse and recycling, including generation of energy, material recovery, recycling.
- Requirements for treatment of non-recyclable and non-reusable hazardous wastes, including physical and chemical treatment, incineration, landfilling.
- Monitoring of wastes and potential impacts.
Article 11 refers to licensing of hazardous waste treatment facilities.
Articles 12 requires that export of hazardous wastes is to be done in accordance with the Basel Convention.
Articles 15 refers to medical waste:
- Classification of wastes and storage and disposal requirements for each category.
- Segregation of medical from other waste streams.
- Qualifications and licensing for packing, transporting, storing and disposal.
Articles 16 to 19 include administrative provisions:
- Exemptions from provisions.
- The regulations do not apply to radioactive substances or wastes or agricultural hazardous substances and wastes and the remnants hereof.
- Employees of the responsible Ministry have the power to inflict sanctions for non-compliance.
Articles 2, 3, 7 and 8 require that a project owner must obtain an environmental permit from the competent authority to establish or modify a project, activity or works. Information to be included in the permit applications are given in Annex No 3 of this regulation.
Articles 4, 5 and 9 describe the role of the competent authority in registering and studying the applications and then issue their decision within one month from the date of receipt of the documents:
- Approve the project or activity or suggest any modifications to avoid probable environmental effects.
- Issue an environmental permit after the examination of a few environmental procedures or measures.
- Issue an environmental permit, provided that the applicant for the permit commit in writing to execute some of the necessary environmental procedures and measures.
- Postpone the decision on the environmental permit until the applicant for the permit submits an assessment study of the environmental impact.
- Refuse to grant the environmental permit.
Article 6 gives the types of projects and activities that require or may require the preparation and submission of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to obtaining a license.
Articles 10 and 11 refer to project monitoring and record-keeping requirements.
Many businesses operating in the UAE face a significant challenge: a lack of awareness regarding these legal requirements. This knowledge gap poses risks not only to employees and the environment but also to the long-term sustainability and success of the business.
The very general overview presented above describes the key legislation that underlies all HSE laws and regulations across the UAE, and this can serve as a starting point for your understanding of HSE requirements in the UAE. There are of course many more requirements, and in particular in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and some of the economic zones such as Jebel Ali, there are literally hundreds of additional different laws, regulations, guidelines, etc for which facilities operating in these jurisdictions need to be aware.
I am currently working on a series of books related to these topics, but in the meantime if you have concerns at your site feel free to contact me. We would be pleased to help you on your compliance journey.