16th June 2016
For the 12th consecutive year, there is a ban in the UAE on anyone working under direct sunlight between 12:30-3:00pm during the the summer months. Known as the 'Midday Break', the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, imposed this year's ban effective from Wednesday 15th June, for three months, until Thursday 15th September 2016.
Companies with employees who work outside are required to split the working day into two shifts, a morning shift and and evening shift. The total working hours per day should not exceed eight. However, should the employees work overtime, then they should be compensated in line with the UAE Labour Law.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health of their workers as per the UAE Labour Law. Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.
Employers Responsibility during the Midday Break period
- Post a clear schedule of the working hours
- Provide shelter for the break period
- Urged to provide health kits for workers
- Urged to distribute awareness leaflets about safety when working in the heat
- In exceptional cases, where work must continue during the Midday Break for technical reasons, employers must provide:
- Salt and lemon, approved by the health authorities
- First Aid
- Air conditioners
- Cold water
- Mix asphalt poured concretes if it is not possible to implement
- Work to prevent dangers, reparation, damage, malfunction or loss
- Emergency works, including: cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity, cutting off traffic or blocking public roads, gas piplines and petroleum flow
Inspections & penalties
The Ministry will conduct inspections across the Emirates. Those caught flouting the ban will receive a fine of AED5,000/person up to AED50,000 for large numbers. They may also have their operations suspended.
Violations in 2015
Last year, in the first six weeks of the Midday Break period , 27,000 inspections were conducted and 30 companies were found to be violating the ban, of which five were located in Abu Dhabi.
Safety in Heat Programme
In 2009, Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Ministry of Labour (MOL) and Abu Dhabi Environment, Health & Safety Centre launched 'Safety in the Heat' to prevent and reduce heat-related illnesses. In just its first year, a total of 51 million man hours were worked and there was a 50% reduction in serious heat illness cases. The programme is now managed by Abu Dhabi Occupational Health and Safety Center (OSHAD).
What is the purpose of Safety in Heat
The Programme raises awareness and trains HSE professionals, supervisors and workers on how to:
- Recognise heat stress symptoms
- Control heat exposure
- First Aid for heat-related disorders
- Ensure good hydration
- Work safely during Ramadan
- The programme encourages employers to:
- Schedule drinking to encourage fluid intake
- Supply appropriate clothing and personal water containers
- Allow workers to pace themselves and to take rests
- Provide adequate drinking water and if possible electrolyte replacement drinks
- Provide shaded work areas
- Provide air conditioned rest areas
Companies can register for the programme to gain access to free materials, including multi lingual posters, leaflets and presentations, CLICK HERE.
Stay compliant if you are operating in Abu Dhabi to avoid fines and interruptions to your business.
Related Blogs that you may be interested in:
Obligations for companies once they have a Trade License CLICK HERE
Overview of legal changes/updates affecting Abu Dhabi businesses in 2015
For sponsorship, company formation and assistance with your Abu Dhabi company's ongoing compliance requirements including visa processing, contact Gateway Group of Companies. Email us at: info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com
Jenny Hunt, CEO Gateway Group of Companies