Bahrain outdoor workers get summer relief
Manama, July 1, 2009
A ban forbidding outdoor work between noon and 4 pm until the end of September comes into force in Bahrain today.
Violators will face fines of between BD50 ($133) to BD300 ($796) for each worker involved.
Around 500 companies, involving nearly 2,000 workers, were taken to court last year after being caught violating the rules.
A Labour Ministry Occupational Health and Safety section official said around 50 inspectors would be monitoring worksites around Bahrain to ensure the ban was being enforced.
"Now that this is the third year in a row the ban is being enforced, we would imagine most of the employers are aware of the issue," he said.
"We are also aware that in spite of the ban, there will still be some violators so we wish to urge them not to break the law."
Our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News last week reported that more than 70 workers have required hospital treatment for heat exhaustion in the space of seven days on the eve of the ban coming into effect.
Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) doctors said they had seen a steady increase in patients with around 10 a day reporting to the accident and emergency department.
They said they were looking forward to the ban coming into place because that would reduce heat stroke and heat exhaustion cases considerably.
Doctors earlier reported a sharp fall in heat stroke and head exhaustion cases at the hospital in July and August since the ban started being enforced.
It was first implemented in 2007 following orders from the Cabinet.
Doctors are expecting similar results this year.
The Labour Ministry official said according to the Health Ministry statistics, on site accidents dropped by 50 per cent during July and August in 2007, as compared with 2006 and the figure was even less in 2008.
"We have already organised workshops for health and safety officers of various construction companies on how to deal with the summer heat and avoid accidents at worksites," he said."This shows the ban is having a positive effect."
The ban was initially opposed by the construction industry but the official said according to reports, around 90 per cent of the companies complied with last year's regulations.
"We expect a higher number to fall in line this year," he said.
The official said, according to reports and their meetings with local companies, the majority of the companies were happy to comply with the outdoor work ban.
"Many companies will now start work early and go on till late in the night after the four-hour break, while many other will have a straight working shift until noon," he said. – TradeArabia News Service