Bahrain summer work ban from July 1
Manama, May 27, 2013
Bahrain will impose a summer ban on outdoor work from July 1 which makes it illegal for anyone to work outside between midday and 4pm, protecting labourers and other workers vulnerable to heat stroke and dehydration.
However, up to 30 people a day are already being admitted to Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) with suspected heat exhaustion as temperatures soar with the approach of summer, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Temperatures are already crossing 40C and it's getting uncomfortable to be outdoors in the day," said SMC Accident and Emergency Department chief resident Dr P V Cheriyan.
"Though the situation is by no means critical yet, the emergency room is treating between 20 and 30 suspected heat exhaustion cases daily. None of the patients have been admitted, but have been discharged after being hydrated and kept under observation."
The ban will remain in place until the end of August and Dr Cheriyan said it had led to a massive drop in the number of people seeking treatment for heat-related conditions since it was introduced in 2007.
"The number of people coming to SMC has reduced and so have the admissions of those who were affected by heat stroke," said Dr Cheriyan. "This is a major achievement."
A Labour Ministry official said there had been a positive response from employers to the summer work ban, with the vast majority of firms respecting the change in timings.
"We are very encouraged by the response of the employers, who have been co-operating with us to enforce the ban," he said. "We expect the co-operation to continue."
Companies caught flouting the summer work ban will be prosecuted and fined.
Around 50 inspectors will be out in force all over the country, visiting construction sites and other locations to ensure the ban is being adhered to.
Some construction companies initially complained when the midday work ban was first enforced, but a Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) spokesman said it had actually had a positive effect on business.
"Over the years, they (companies) have not only fallen in line, they are also reporting their productivity has increased," he said.
He added the BCCI was co-ordinating with the Labour Ministry and other authorities to ensure the ban was enforced and implemented.
Nearly 200 companies faced penalties for flouting the ban last year, when 20,000 site visits were conducted. The Labour Ministry caught 554 workers, employed by 186 firms, on the job between midday and 4pm last summer.
Firms that violate the rules can be fined up to BD300 ($774) per worker. – TradeArabia News Service