x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Workers' break to be strictly enforced from today

Companies face stiff fines if their labourers work under the midday sun from today.

ABU DHABI // Companies flouting the midday-break law, which goes into effect today, have been warned that this year they will face the most intense scrutiny yet.

The municipality said yesterday it would step up its inspection of construction sites to ensure compliance with the law. For the next three months, work "under the sun or in open places" is banned between the hours of 12.30pm and 3pm.

"Inspection teams will keep construction sites under constant surveillance and serve offenders with first notices," said Abdulaziz Zurub, the head of health and safety at the municipality.

Companies failing to comply will face "strict measures" and project operations could be suspended for repeat offenders. Fines begin at Dh10,000 and a three-month hiring ban. Second-time offenders can be fined Dh15,000, with a six-month ban, with a third offence carrying a Dh20,000 fine and nine-month ban.

In an effort to increase health and safety awareness, the municipality has launched a campaign aimed at educating a million engineers and construction workers.

The classes focus on health and safety regulations, particularly for labourers working in open spaces.

Protective shelters and rest areas must be set up and contractors, consultants and developers have also been told to provide first-aid kits and drinking water at sites.

jthomas@thenational.ae