16th June 2016
For the 12th consecutive year, there is a ban in the UAE on anyone working under direct sunlight between 12:30-3:00pm during the the summer months. Known as the 'Midday Break', the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), imposed this year's ban effective from Wednesday 15th June, for three months, until Thursday 15th September 2016.
Companies with employees who work outside are required to split the working day into two shifts, a morning shift and and evening shift. The total working hours per day should not exceed eight. However, should the employees work overtime, then they should be compensated in line with the UAE Labour Law.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health of their workers as per the UAE Labour Law. Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.
Employers Responsibility during the Midday Break period
Post a clear schedule of the working hours
Provide shelter for the break period
Urged to provide health kits for workers
Urged to distribute awareness leaflets about safety when working in the heat
In exceptional cases, where work must continue during the Midday Break for technical reasons, employers must provide:Salt and lemon, approved by the health authorities
Mix asphalt poured concretes if it is not possible to implement
Work to prevent dangers, reparation, damage, malfunction or loss
Emergency works, including: cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity, cutting off traffic or blocking public roads, gas piplines and petroleum flow.
Inspections & penalties
The Ministry will conduct inspections across the Emirates. Those caught flouting the ban will receive a fine of AED5,000/person up to AED50,000 for large numbers. They may also have their operations suspended.
Violations in 2015
Last year, in the first six weeks of the Midday Break period , 27,000 inspections were conducted and 30 companies were found to be violating the ban, of which five were located in Abu Dhabi.
Safety in Heat Programme
In 2009, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Ministry of Labour (MOL) and Abu Dhabi Environment, Health & Safety Centre launched 'Safety in the Heat' to prevent and reduce heat-related illnesses. In just its first year, a total of 51 million man hours were worked and there was a 50% reduction in serious heat illness cases. The programme is now managed by Abu Dhabi Occupational Health and Safety Center (OSHAD).
What is the purpose of Safety in Heat
The Programme raises awareness and trains HSE professionals, supervisors and workers on how to:
Recognise heat stress symptoms
Control heat exposure
First Aid for heat-related disorders
Ensure good hydration
Work safely during Ramadan
The programme encourages employers to:
Schedule drinking to encourage fluid intake
Supply appropriate clothing and personal water containers
Allow workers to pace themselves and to take rests
Provide adequate drinking water and if possible electrolyte replacement drinks
Provide shaded work areas
Provide air conditioned rest areas
Companies can register for the programme to gain access to free materials, including multi lingual posters, leaflets and presentations, CLICK HERE.
Stay compliant if you are operating in Abu Dhabi and/or Dubai to avoid fines and interruptions to your business.
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO
Gateway Group Of Companies, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, UAE
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