In an event held at the Rocco Forte Hotel attended by more than 350 participants representing food establishments in the Emirate, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) unveiled the details of the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Management System (AD EHSMS) for the food sector. ADFCA held the first workshop in its capacity as Sector Regulatory Authority (SRA) for monitoring the development and implementation of Abu Dhabi EHSMS in the food sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
It is an integrated management system developed using International Standards and best practice. It includes all factors related to the protection of the environment, conservation of natural resource and protection and preservation of human health and safety in the workplace. The EHSMS for the food sector will cover the entire food chain (from Farm to Fork), ranging from feeds, fertilisers and other inputs used in production to processing, preparation, manufacturing, packing, transporting, storing, distributing, displaying, servicing and selling of food products.
Speaking on the significance of the move, Saeed Jasim Mohamed, Acting Director of Communication and Community Service at ADFCA, said the Authority was all set to implement the EHSMS in the letter and spirit of the decision taken by the Government of Abu Dhabi, as per decree No.42 of 2009 issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. "This workshop was meant to not only educate all the stake holders on the measures, but also to instil confidence, as we shall work with, and support them in the spirit of partnership," he explained.
All government and private entities operating within the Emirate are required to align their plans and activities in line with the EHSMS. The EHSMS policy and law requires all employers to carry out risk assessments to determine the nature and extent of potential hazards and associated risk and develop effective control measures , including safe systems of work, information, adequate ,supervision and control and suitable emergency management and contingency plans.
Putting the onus of implementing the EHSMS on the employers, the rules and regulations clearly stipulate consultation with employees on matters pertaining to their health and safety. Employers are not allowed to charge the employees for health and safety measures and provisions put in place.
It is mandatory for food establishments to comply fully with AD EHSMS upon receiving the official notification from ADFCA. ADFCA is currently finalizing the finer details of the implementation plan in coordination with Abu Dhabi EHS Centre, which is the authority for monitoring the implementation of the system in the emirate.
Once implementation begins, a food establishment is mandated to conduct regular internal EHS inspections and audit, in addition to, and preparing the ground for inspections by ADFCA, in order to ensure that the full range of measures is implemented in an effective manner. Failure to implement the system effectively may result in penalties ranging from warning notices to cancellation of the commercial licenses.