Standards for worker’s accommodation set at Duqm SEZ in Oman
By: Times News Service
Muscat: Yahya bin Said Al Jabri, Chairman of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm (Sezad), issued a decision approving the standards and conditions for the construction of workers' accommodation in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZD).
The objective behind this decision is to unify and specify the minimum mandatory requirements for the provision of appropriate accommodation for workers in SEZD, covering planning, designing and operation requirements as well as health, safety and environment requirements, in compliance with the local and international requirements.
Moreover, other conditions that have been added to the list of requirements to take into account the precautionary measures concerning the infectious diseases, following the recent amendments implemented to the Law on Control of Infectious Diseases.
The newly set standards and conditions apply to all permanent and temporary workers' accommodations designated to accommodate workers in the zone and are compulsory to all owners of these accommodations. The decision issued on April 9 requested that all existing workers' accommodations be adjusted as per the new decision within six months from the date of its issue.
Likewise, on February 10, Sezad added a new article to the Urban Planning and Building Permits Regulations stipulating that it is not permissible to establish workers' accommodation in the Zone unless approval is obtained from Sezad to ensure the compliance of its standards and requirements.
Otherwise, Sezad may impose an administrative fine not exceeding OMR5,000 in the case of establishing workers' accommodation without Sezad’s approval or violating the prescribed requirements and specifications.
Enhancing workers' standard of living
The conditions and standards stipulated all workers' accommodations shall have the features and facilities that ensure providing decent standards of living for workers; including privacy, comfort, security, health, safety and service while taking into account the environmental and social aspects.
In view of that, all accommodations shall consider the size and type of facilities as to be appropriate to the number of residents, provide all necessary facilities to maintain health and safety of residents, ensure all facilities have appropriate natural or artificial lighting, good ventilation, equipped with tools and fire-fighting equipment according to the requirements of civil defence and appropriate to the size of area while providing training for workers to use it.
Further, all accommodations shall include a first aid box with all the necessary medical tools and supplies. Besides, all facilities should be built from materials that comply with the approved technical and standard requirements.
The new conditions strictly prohibited the use of asbestos, any other product in which asbestos is used or any other harmful substance. The cooking stoves, washing machines, food storage, or any dangerous materials are also not permitted inside bedrooms.
Overall, the standards and conditions are covering all facilities and services in the accommodations including bedrooms, toilets, washing rooms, kitchen and accessories, dining hall, prayer hall, activities hall, gym, clinic, laundry, drinking water tanks, sewage treatment station, sewage tanks, waste collection sites and many other facilities.
Procedures for obtaining a workers' accommodation permit
All projects planning to establish accommodation for their workers must consider obtaining the land designated for such purpose by submitting land usufruct permit request, following the procedures set by Sezad. Projects’ owners may build the accommodation within the land allocated for the project post obtaining Sezad’s approval.
Upon the project completion or expiry of land usufruct agreement, projects’ owners shall remove the temporary accommodation and all other assets existing on the land or under the surface of the land and keep the designated land as it was before setting up the accommodation within the period specified by Sezad.