Midday break, a Summertime Saviour of the Labourers

The scorching heat and rising temperature in the UAE isn’t an unknown thing. Summers can be cruel for those working in the heat, especially in the month of June to September. For the Labourers that are exposed to direct sunlight, summertime is exhausting.

With this comes a mandatory midday break for outdoor workers by the UAE. This break is to safeguard the workers from the peak of the searing summer heat, as temperatures maximise here. According to this policy, people shouldn’t be working in the open between 12.30 pm until 3 pm from mid-June to the mid of September. This was brought in force by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation 17 years ago back in 2004.

The main aim was the wellbeing & safety of the labourers working in direct heat and to protect them from strokes. The law sets some major rules for employers for the benefit of their blue-collar workforce.

This includes

  • Providing a shaded place to rest during the midday break
  • Setting fixed 8 working hours, and paying overtime if exceeded.
  • Providing cool drinking water for the staff
  • Thirst-quenching items such as salts and lemons
  • Fruits at the workplace
  • First-aid kits readily available, and more.

Educating the employees is a must

Employers or respective supervisors should educate their employees/labourers about the risk of excessive exposure to heat at the rising temperature. They should make their people learn the benefits of drinking adequate water. Also, employees must offer adequate air-conditioned rest places and provide medical attention immediately if needed.

Food to be taken

Educating the employees about specific food during summer works! Food high in potassium, electrolytes, and, in many cases, a little sugar and simple carbohydrates like coconut water, buttermilk, lemon water, fresh fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber help keeping them hydrated and energetic.

Avoid sitting in a car parked in the hot sun for a long time and try to park their vehicle under the shade, wash their hands properly and follow general hygiene rules while handling food.

One should stay alert on these symptoms

  • Dehydration
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Irritation in eyes, red-eye
  • Heatstroke, sunburns
  • Food and water-borne diseases
  • Fungal infections in the skin

Make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Staying away from too much tea and coffee
  • Consume properly cooked food
  • Wear shades, sunscreen, and face masks

Act immediately if any symptom occurs

  • Sit or lie down at a cool place/ shade
  • Lie down and elevate your legs to get the blood flowing to your heart
  • Remove any tight clothing
  • Put cool towels on your body
  • Drink fluids

This should be kept in mind

Employees on medication should take extra precautions. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if that can affect the body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.

Employees should limit time spent working or exercising in heat until they’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness.

Be cautious if they’re at increased risk. If they take medications or have a condition that increases their risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if any overheating symptoms occur.

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