Qatar’s ministry of labour announced that approximately 232 work sites have been forced to shut down operations for 3 days for violating summer working hours. The law violated, bans outdoor work during the summer season.
This new legislation prevents staff from working outdoors between the hours of 10am and 3:30pm from June 1st through to September 15th every year. This replaces an old legislation implemented in 2007 where outdoor working was prohibited between 11:30am and 3pm from June 15th to August 31st. Not only has the outdoor working hours been cut shorter, but this period has also increased for employees.
However, despite such strict laws protecting staff in order to prevent heat stress, numerous private companies continue to violate this law unfortunately.
In the first month alone since issuing the new legislation, almost 100 companies were fined and 232 worksites closed for 3 days. Authorities noted that most violations were committed by companies operating in the contracting industry, which means hundreds of staff were forced to complete construction labour in temperatures averaging 41.2°C, potentially more.
These companies were discovered in June during an intensive inspection campaign organised by the ministry.
To add, this new law states that all work must be completely stopped if the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) exceeds 32.1 °C at a particular workplace, regardless of the outdoor working hour legislation. The WBGT index takes into account the ambient temperature, humidity, solar radiation and wind speed.
In addition, workers must be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) suitable for hot weather conditions which includes light, loose-fitting clothing. Free annual medical examinations for staff to diagnose and manage diseases with the potential to contribute to heat stress must also be provided.
Moreover, air-conditioned areas for workers, along with adequate rest periods are required.
In recent years, the government has been proactive and engaged in issuing new laws and regulations to ensure worker safety in time for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Violation of this legislation can be reported to the ministry’s hotline number, 16008 or through accessing the unified complaint form.
It’s great to see Qatar look after those building our beautiful state.