SHARJAH // Forty people suffering from heat exhaustion, most of them outdoor construction workers, have been admitted to the emergency department at Kuwait Hospital so far this month. Dr Yousef al Serkal, the hospital's director, said the rate was high for the start of summer, but lower than the peak of last summer when the hospital admitted up to 10 patients a day suffering from the condition.
"We need to be sure that these cases do not increase as the weather gets hotter in the coming days," he said, adding that cases admitted so far "had not been serious". He said the majority of the patients were construction workers brought in during the hottest part of the day. Employers are required to grant building workers a 12.30pm to 3pm break between June 15 and September 15. "If the body is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, it loses a lot of fluids and salts which may lead to loss of consciousness and a rise in body temperature that could also affect the brain functioning," said Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, the medical director of Kuwait Hospital.
An official from the Ministry of Labour office in Sharjah said no companies were caught breaking the midday break rule in its first five days. First-time offenders are fined Dh10,000 and banned from issuing new labour permits for three months. The punishment doubles to a Dh20,000 fine and a six-month ban on new work permits for a second offence. If a company breaks the rule for a third time, it will be fined Dh30,000 and banned from issuing new permits for one year.