Bahrain to step up labour camp checks
Manama, April 22, 2008
Inspection campaigns at Bahrain's labour camps are to be stepped up to ensure they comply with all health and safety standards, Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi said.
The findings of the inspection campaigns so far this year were presented by the minister to the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on Sunday.
Dr Al Alawi said that owners of 120 labour camps which flouted safety regulations would be taken to court soon.
The crackdown follows a series of field inspections carried out by the Labour Ministry inspectors, he told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"We are now intensifying the campaigns to ensure that all labour camps comply with the health and safety standards set by the government," said Dr Al Alawi.
"It is the responsibility of employers who put their workers in labour camps
to provide them with a decent accommodation.
"The government is committed to improving the living conditions of expatriate workers," he said.
Dr Al Alawi, who took the initiative in banning the use of open trucks to transport workers, starting January next year, was also responsible for introducing a midday work ban for construction workers during the hot summer months last year.
"All these steps have been taken to protect the health and safety of workers," he added.
A total of 270 camps were inspected in a campaign carried out two years ago.
One of the camps, which was the worst of the lot, was closed down following the ministry's orders. The workers there were moved to a rented building until the employer completed the construction of a new camp.
Companies with overcrowded camps were told to reduce the number of workers per room. Others were told to improve the hygiene conditions and other facilities.
Among the camps inspected were 120 belonging to construction companies, 80 to major manufacturing and industrial firms and 70 to transportation, shipping and other related companies.
Camp owners who fail to comply with the requirements are first given a notice showing where they have failed. If they do not improve the facilities in a given time, a warning notice is served. They are taken to the court if they still fail to comply.
The camps which are now being taken to the court are those which repeated the offences.-TradeArabia News Service