x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

1000s of Abu Dhabi companies tested on workers' midday break

The Ministry of Labour will continue inspections across the UAE until the end of the break period on September 15.

Companies that violate the midday break rule face a Dh15,000 fine, up Dh5,000 from last year.
Companies that violate the midday break rule face a Dh15,000 fine, up Dh5,000 from last year.

ABU DHABI // A vast majority of companies are complying with the midday break for outdoor workers, according to the Ministry of Labour.

During the first two weeks of the break, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, which began on June 15, 7,569 companies were inspected, of which 99.6 per cent were found to be in compliance.

Action has been taken against the few offenders.

Maher Al Obed, assistance undersecretary of inspections at the ministry, said the ministry has 19 inspection teams which will pay 60,000 visits to work sites until the break ends on September 15.

The ministry also plans to conduct 20,000 awareness visits and hold 81 lectures and seminars to educate workers on ways to stay healthy in the heat.

All consultants and contractors operating in building and construction sectors across the country must observe the work ban.

Mr Al Obed said the inspectors visit work sites more than once a day to ensure workers get proper breaks. Inspections are conducted daily from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Companies that break the rule face a Dh15,000 fine, up Dh5,000 from last year. Repeat offenders will not be allowed to hire new workers or issue new labour cards.

Abdul Aziz Zurub, director of health, safety and environment at Abu Dhabi Municipality, said: "So far we have witnessed that some 99 per cent of construction sites are conforming with the midday rules of the country, whereas one per cent of firms reportedly had small lapses, which were dealt with [by] warnings.

"Nine inspectors, including 40 experts in the field of construction, are carrying out inspections in Abu Dhabi that will continue until September 15," he said.

"As of now, everything at work sites is going on smoothly. We haven't noticed any major violation to the midday rules of the country."

Mr Zurub said inspection teams carry out systematic surveillance of construction sites and serve first warnings if they find violations. The recurrence of violations on the part of contractors and consultants may evoke a penalty that includes halting the project.

Abu Dhabi municipality called on consultants and contractors to take appropriate precautionary arrangements such as the provision of suitable shaded areas, rest areas and cold water.

It also asked them to provide first aid kits in the workplace to raise the awareness of risks associated with working under direct sunlight and methods of preventing heat stress among all employees.

anwar@thenational.ae