x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Presentations offer guidelines

A new campaign aimed at outdoor blue-collar workers will highlight the diet and lifestyle necessary to prevent heat-related illnesses.

A new campaign aimed at outdoor blue-collar workers will highlight the diet and lifestyle necessary to prevent heat-related illnesses. The campaign, launched yesterday by the Ministry of Labour, the New Medical Centre (NMC) and UAE Exchange, coincides with the first day of the obligatory midday working break, which will remain in force until the end of August. Presentations offering guidelines on daily fluid and salt intake, which foods to avoid and the correct amount of sleep will be given at 150 companies throughout the UAE.

The campaign hopes to prevent workers collapsing due to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Effects range from tiredness, cramps and headaches, to vomiting, convulsions, unconsciousness and even death. "Workers are collapsing and dying," said Dr BR Shetty, the managing director and chief executive of the NMC Speciality Hospital. "They should not be tortured by working; it should be enjoyable and they should take care of themselves over the next two months.

"He forecast a "substantial reduction" in the number of cases of heat-related illnesses at UAE hospitals. "The number of cases has declined since the midday break was introduced and this campaign will provide further improvement," he said. During the next 60 days, and possibly for longer, officials will visit 50 companies in Abu Dhabi and the same number in both Dubai and Sharjah. They will give an hour-long presentation in a variety of languages, explaining the health risks associated with heat and humidity and ways to treat and avoid them.

Workers will be advised to drink enough water to replace sweat loss (between five and 10 litres a day), to include extra salt with their meal, to avoid alcohol intake and to eat sparingly during the day. They will also be told to avoid certain oily foods and to go to sleep early at night. Mr Shetty said the campaign was being run in addition to the internal health and safety initiatives carried out by UAE companies.