The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs has begun implementing the Ministerial decision No. (17) for the year 2021 regarding the necessary precautions to protect workers from heat stress in open work sites during the summer period.
The ministry said in a statement, that according to the decision that came into effect to replace Resolution No. (16) issued in 2007, working hours are determined for works performed under the sun or open workplaces and in other than shaded and ventilated workplaces, during the period from June 1 to September 15 of every year, so that it is not permissible to start work from 10 in the morning until 3.30 in the evening.
The Ministry emphasized that the employer should set a schedule for determining the daily working hours in accordance with the provisions of this decision, and place this schedule in a visible place to make it easy for all workers to view it, and labor inspectors can observe it upon their inspection visits.
The Ministry stressed the need to stop working in open areas if the temperature index scale of the wet bulb (WBGT) device exceeds 32.1 degrees Celsius in a specific workplace, regardless of when this occurs. It should be noted here that the temperature meter takes into account the surrounding environment temperature, humidity, solar radiation and wind speed.
The Ministry explained that the new decision helps reduce the risks of heat stress that workers may be exposed to, and supports the health and safety plans that will be implemented during the summer period, in conjunction with the implementation of the new measures.
The new measures include the development of a joint plan with companies and workers to assess the risks of heat stress and mitigate its effects and update it periodically, provided that a copy of the assessment is kept in the workplace for labor inspectors to review it.
The measures also include the provision of training on dealing with heat stress to all workers by the month of May each year, and the provision of free drinking water to all workers at a suitable cold temperature throughout the work period, as well as shaded rest places that are easily accessible to workers and effective in providing protection from sunlight and high temperature while resting.
In addition, workers must be provided with personal protective equipment suitable for hot weather, including light, loose-fitting clothing, and receive annual free medical examinations to diagnose and manage chronic diseases that may contribute to the risk of heat stress. The medical reports must be kept. Meanwhile, paramedics and occupational safety and health supervisors in work place must be trained to provide directions and first aid to workers.
Moreover, the measures call for measuring the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT), taking into account all climatic parameters such as sunlight, relative humidity, air temperature, wind speed, and taking the necessary measures in the event of high indicators, monitoring and recording levels of climatic conditions in the workplace, and stopping work in places where the temperature index exceeds (32.1) degrees.
Within its competence, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, represented by the Labor Inspection Department, works to raise the awareness among employers and workers to commit to implementing the decisions and procedures necessary to determine working hours in open spaces during the summer period, through the Ministry’s media outlets which are available in different languages, in order to ensure that workers receive the necessary awareness about safety and occupational health in the workplace throughout the year.
The Ministry also works to launch media campaigns to highlight the guidelines and directives related to heat stress through the media.
Source: Minister of Administrative Development, Labor & Social Affairs