Labourers must be provided with shaded areas to rest, ministry says
A mandatory midday break for labourers who work in the sun during the summer months started yesterday (Sunday), according to the Ministry of Labour.
The decision issued by the ministry for the 10th year in a row says that companies have to give a two-and-a-half hour break from 12.30pm to 3pm to labourers who work in open areas such as construction sites.
The three-month midday break rule will last until September 15. Employers are instructed to provide a shaded area for workers to rest during the midday break and employers should provide adequate preventive methods to protect workers from work-related injuries.
The ministry stated that daily working hours must not exceed eight hours in the morning or night shift, and overtime should be paid to those working additional hours.
According to the ministry’s decision, labourers must not work at all during the banned hours if they usually work outside. But companies working on emergency projects can continue work.
A senior official from the ministry said yesterday companies doing works which must continue for technical reasons are exempt from the ban. Workers can continue working during the banned hours if they are working on projects that cannot be postponed for technical reasons such as asphalting of roads and laying concrete as well as repairing damage in water pipes, petrol pipes, sewage pipes or the disconnection of electrical lines.This also includes those working on projects licensed from governmental departments which could affect the flow of traffic, or also that which could affect electrical, water supplies or communications.
Companies which are permitted to continue work must provide cold drinking water to the workers and there must be a limited number of workers only in addition to all kinds of safety and public health requirements.The workers must be supplied with salt and lemon, which is approved for use by health authorities in the country. Any they must provide first aid at the work site and there must be appropriate industrial and protective umbrellas to shield them from the sun.
Labour officials said all employers must comply with requirements needed for workers who perform work without stop and to prevent them from heat exhaustion and heatstroke.Employers must provide all facilities that cater to the health of workers, including first aid, air-conditioners, sunshades and cold water.
Employers who have labourers working on projects exempt from the rules must be provided with enough cold water, lemon, salt and healthy salads during working hours.
Employers are also instructed to provide a shaded area for workers to rest during the midday break and employers must provide adequate preventive methods to protect workers from work-related injuries.
Penalties for violation
Companies who violate the midday summer break will face penalties. First-time offenders will have their firms downgraded to category C for at least three months, and will be fined Dh10,000. Category C firms will not have any work permits issued for at least six months.Second-time offenders will be downgraded to category C and will have no work permits processed for nine months and will be fined Dh15,000.
Third-time offenders will pay a fine of Dh20,000 and will be downgraded to category C and will not be issued labour permits for at least one year.Employers must post notices of daily work timings “at a noticeable place at the work site so the ministry inspectors can see it clearly during their inspection visits”.