Appraising Safety Performance, Occupational Hazards and Environmental Conditions in Plastic Industries in Jeddah Industrial Estate - Saudi Arabia

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has made tremendous progress in the socio-economic sphere in recent years, where the economy has been developed and diversified rapidly, and the population has good chances for personal economic development. By the end of 1423 H (2003G) there has been 8.3 million employees in the all economic activity sectors and the number of licensed producing factories arrived to 3601 factories employing 0.34 million workers, where considerable annual increase of the number of workers has been observed, particularly in Riyadh, Makkah and Eastern provinces. Also, 12 industrial estates have been established in the different cities and towns.

These developments have their impact on the practice of safety and occupational health since: (a) diversification of economic activity from nearly complete dependence on oil production to a wide spectrum of industries, particularly the basic chemical industries (by SABIC), as well as agriculture, construction and services, involving more manual processing , use of potentially toxic chemicals and exposure to other chemical hazards, requiring more stringent appraisal of safety of the industrial operations and monitoring of the work environment and workers’ health; (b) the rapid increase in the type and size of new industrial activities requires a similar increase in adequate safeguards of workers’ health, mostly through the development of occupational safety, environment and health; and (c) the expected change in composition of workers from largely expatriate to mainly Saudi Arabian should facilitate the follow-up of exposed workers, which is at present difficult because of the rapid turnover and the spread of geographical location from which the expatriate workers are drown. Meanwhile, some governmental and non-governmental bodies contribute to the overall provision of occupational safety and health. However, the functions, operational procedures and achievement of each of them are poorly defined and diversified, and there is no systematic appraisal of work safety and environment or of workers’ health. On the whole, the substantially large number of small- and medium-sized establishments does not receive occupational safety and health services, and the extent of the toll of occupational accidents and diseases is not known.

However, the International Labor Office (ILO) statistics show the seriousness of the industrial accidents and injuries since the average number of work injuries in 64 countries has been estimated to be 9 millions, including 24 thousands fatalities, and it has been stated that the world observes one case of fatal work injury every three minutes, and three work injuries every three seconds. (1)

Therefore, there is urgent need to assess the occupational safety, environment and health status in KSA in an endeavor to identify the points of strength and weakness, the opportunities and the threats (SWOT) in an endeavor to plan an occupational safety, environment and health program applicable to the Kingdom.

In the present study plastics industries are investigated as part of a funded research project covering all types of industries in Jeddah Industrial Estate (JIE).

The general objective is to establish profiles of occupational hazards and appraising safety performance and environmental and health conditions in JIE Metal-Forming enterprises, as a model for the prevailing conditions in the country. The specific objectives include:

(1) Making an inventory of the Metal-Forming enterprises in JIE. (2) Surveying a representative sample of those enterprises, including all sizes for the industrial hazards. (3) Appraising safety performance in the selected enterprises. (4) Establishing, from the analysis of data, profiles of industrial hazards and current safety status.

The scope of this research is the Metal-Forming...
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