Abu Dhabi to educate workers about heat stress, midday break

New campaign to raise awareness among construction contractors, consultants and workers on risks of heat exposure

PHOTO: During the hot summer months, most outdoor work is banned between the hours of 12.30pm and 3pm. Credit: Shutterstock

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality has launched a campaign to educate construction workers about the dangers of working in the heat, and broaden knowledge about the midday work ban that went into effect nationwide on Monday.

In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety & Health Center (OSHAD) and the Ministry of Labour, the municipality held a workshop for 650 contractors and consultants, to raise awareness among those managing construction sites and environment, health and safety specialists.

According to a statement by the municipality, it is also working on training and educating labourers at construction sites about the health risks of exposure to direct sunlight and administering first aid to heat-stricken workers. Additionally, the government body is looking to broaden workers’ knowledge about the summer work ban between 12.30pm and 3pm, which is enforced in the period from June 15 to September 15 every year at most outdoor work sites.

Consultants and contractors have been called upon to take appropriate measures such as providing large quantities of drinking water, appropriate cooling systems and umbrellas. Other practices that can be adopted include organising working hours, adopting a shift-work system, and training supervisors and workers to adapt to the work environment.

Symptoms of heat stress include excessive sweating, headaches, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, weakness and fatigue, drowsiness, loss of concentration, irritation and low blood pressure. It may also cause fainting, heat stroke and in severe cases, death.

In the onset of these symptoms, the municipality advises workers to take safety measures such as moving to cool and shady place, trying to reduce body heat by fanning or applying a damp cloth, and taking a cool salinized drink to replenish lost fluids. Workers are also encouraged to notify a supervisor onsite and visit a clinic to receive necessary first aid.

Inspection teams from the municipality will regularly monitor construction sites for violations of the work ban. If contractors and consultants fail to adhere to the regulation despite a first warning, project operations might be suspended altogether, the municipality warned.

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