Etihad Rail – the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network – has surpassed more than 10 million working man-hours, or over 250 days, with zero lost-time injuries. This significant achievement is a clear indicator of Etihad Rail’s commitment to ensuring that safety remains a core value since the inception, construction, and soon the commercial operation, of the UAE’s national railway network. The Etihad Rail project is managed by a joint venture between Parsons and Aecom.
Commenting on the achievement, Eng. Faris Saif Al Mazrouei, Acting CEO of Etihad Rail, said: “At Etihad Rail, we believe that all accidents, injuries and work-related illnesses are preventable, with safety being a value and mind-set shared by all. From senior management through to the frontline, each of our employees and contractors is trained and empowered to eliminate unsafe conditions and implement the necessary corrective actions to make an area or situation safe. This has resulted in a common set of principles and behaviours that ensures working safely is part of our daily business. This 10 million-hours figure is a significant milestone for us, particularly considering the challenging desert conditions of the Western Region.”
To this end, Al Mazrouei also added: “This achievement, which includes time dedicated to the testing and commissioning of trains since September of last year, reflects that the high safety standards of the rail industry have carried over into Etihad Rail’s activities prior to the launch of commercial operations.”
“The Parsons-Aecom joint venture has worked very closely with Etihad Rail and implemented a very robust safety program suitable for a project of such uniqueness and magnitude. We are very proud of the safety culture that led to this significant milestone,” said Guy Mehula, Parsons MEA President.
Since its formation in 2009, Etihad Rail has implemented internationally recognised Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards and best practice throughout the construction and operation of the railway. The shared commitment and combined efforts of the Etihad Rail and Program Management Consultant (PMC) teams, has seen the application of stringent HSE policies and standards enforced on-site for all partners, employees, neighbours, and other key stakeholders in the surrounding areas of the railway.
Employees and contractors must comply with strict contractual safety requirements, which are developed in accordance with the legal framework set out by the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Center (OSHAD) which are benchmarked against international best practice for HSE management. In addition to regular audits and inspections by the Etihad Rail and PMC HSE teams, the company has a stringent incident reporting system that ensures any incident with the potential to cause harm is immediately contained and followed up by competent incident investigation teams. Management and field staff are also actively involved in performing daily, weekly and monthly site inspections; the results of which are reviewed during senior management progress meetings, and are always dealt with first as an agenda item.
Upon completion, the Etihad Rail network, which will cater to both freight and passengers, will span approximately 1,200 kilometres across the UAE. It will connect urban and peripheral communities, facilitate trade, open up communication channels and foster economic development across all the emirates in the UAE. The network will also form a vital part of the GCC railway network, linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.