x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

One in five labour camps infested with rats and other pests

Dirty common areas, men cooking in their rooms, rats and others pests were among the main violations inspectors uncovered in camps by inspectors.

DUBAI // Dirty common areas, men cooking in their rooms, rats and others pests were among the main violations inspectors uncovered in labour camps across the emirate last year, officials said yesterday. A survey by the municipality found that rodents and other pests accounted for almost one in five violations. Camp operators should conduct regular pest control operations, the civic authority said.

Poor cleaning by both workers and employers accounted for 17 per cent of infractions. "Some labour accommodations have cleaners while other leave it to workers," said Hafid Ghuloom, the head of the municipality's health control section. "The workers often clean their rooms but the surroundings are always dirty. We have asked companies to ensure that the camps are kept clean. Companies and workers have to work together to keep their premises clean."

Officials did not say how many violations they discovered, but said their findings were based on regular inspections of 2,000 camps. Safety violations accounted for 14 per cent of the infractions. More than 12 per cent were due to cooking in rooms and storing food improperly, while seven per cent were due to the use of wooden partitions in rooms. "Companies must use catering services and not allow cooking in rooms," Mr Ghuloom said. "Even common kitchens in camps are always dirty and a safety risk."

Other violations were smoking in prohibited areas and overcrowding. The health insurance cards of some workers had expired. Nearly five per cent of the violations were down to a lack of water filters or clean drinking water. Inspections were continuing and offenders were being penalised, said the officials, who have launched programmes to educate employers and workers about proper standards. @Email:pmenon@thenational.ae