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The UAE’s Ministry of Labour (MoL) has announced that the midday work ban for labourers in the country will be enforced from June 15 to September 15, state news agency WAM reported.
Workers will be restricted from carrying out any work under direct sunlight from 12.30 pm to 3pm during this period. The temperature in the Gulf country can shoot up as high as 50 to 55 degree celcius during the peak summer months, making it impractical to perform outdoor work during midday.
The ministry also urged companies to provide shaded areas for the workers during the break and to completely cease work during this time period.
“The midday work ban has entered its 10th year now, confirming the ministry’s commitment towards human and labour rights by ensuring them work in a suitable and safe environment,” said Mubarak Saeed Al-Dhaheri, under-secretary of the Ministry.
“This is considered one of the most prominent and important initiatives which handles preventive measures to protect workers from the risks of working under direct sunlight with extreme high temperatures.”
The ministry has warned that violators of the ban will be fined Dhs15,000 if they are found forcing labourers to work under direct sunlight.
“Moreover, if the issue was involving a huge number of workers on the recorded worksite, the company’s profile will be sent to the minister’s office, where it might face temporary suspension from operations plus a reduction in its classification level,” Al-Dhaheri said.
However, the official said that some firms have been exempted from the work ban due to the technical nature of their work.
“Businesses excluded from the banned working hours include work on mixed asphalt and poured concrete if it is impossible to implement or supplement the work in one day, or carrying out work to prevent expected danger or reparation or damage or malfunction or loss, and also emergency work, including cutting power lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity and cutting off or redirecting traffic or blocking public roads in addition to cut gas or petroleum pipelines,” Al-Dhaheri said.
The MoL will also conduct routine inspections to root out violators, officials said.
“We have formed 18 teams of specialised inspectors to follow up on this particular issue, making sure that all companies are following the decision correctly. We will also conduct random visits as part of our awareness campaigns to publicise the decision and its implications and stress its importance,” said Maher Al Obed, assistant under-secretary for the Inspection Department.
“There will be around 80,000 visits during the midday break period for the next three months, in which 60,000 visits will be inspectional and 20,000 for the awareness campaign.”
The UAE’s temperature soared to 50 degree Celsius earlier this week that prompted warnings from meteorologists to cut down outdoor activities during the day.