For the third consecutive year Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center’s (OSHAD) Safety in Heat programme is underway, promoting occupational safety awareness for employees and stakeholders in all the entities to which the law prohibiting work at noon – enacted by the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation – is applicable. This law prohibits work in direct sunlight and under high temperatures in open places from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm for a three-month span, from June 15th to September 15 th .
H.E. Dr. Jaber Eida Al-Jabri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center, elaborated on the programme: “We launched the Safety in Heat programme before the start date of the noontime working ban, thereby providing advanced training to employees and supervisors. This ensured that they had sufficient knowledge and time to protect their workers, as well as to effectively apply occupational health and safety standards in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, creating a healthy and safe workplace for all personnel.”
H.E. Dr. Al-Jabry added that the Center, through this annual awareness programme, provides a package of tools enabling workplaces to deliver the necessary training to their employees. This training equips employees with the skills and tools to properly manage heat-related cases and illnesses. The Center will provide support and consultation to all workplaces in this respect.
H.E. Saeed Issa Al Khaili, Acting Chief Executive Officer, said: “ZonesCorp takes the safety and wellbeing of all workers who operate within its economic zones very seriously and is committed to ensuring that all the relevant laws are complied with. As such the ZonesCorp – Foreign Labour Services team carries out regular inspections of the Industrial units and factories, and the Worker Residential City (WRC) Unit carries out inspections of the cities, especially during the summer period, to ensure that the laws regarding worker safety are being strictly adhered to. Furthermore, ZonesCorp does its utmost to assist entities to raise awareness about the safe working conditions across the WRC’s and factory sites particularly during the hottest parts of the year.
The Safety in Heat programme contains guidelines and recommendations for managing heat stress resulting from direct exposure to the sun. Employees who work for long periods in open places may suffer from numerous occupational illnesses and injuries, including heat stress potentially leading to sun stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, and/or skin rash. In addition, high temperatures may cause injury among personnel due to sweaty palms and nausea.
In this regard, OSHAD calls on all workplaces in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that have personnel working at sites with high temperatures to understand and implement the Safety in Heat programme.
Workplaces should also guarantee that proper control measures are in place to protect workers against exposure to the sun. The distribution of responsibilities and provision of necessary training for all stakeholders should be provided, and instructions for proper mealtimes, rest periods and protective equipment should be printed and distributed in public places, to maintain the workers’ occupational health and safety. The Safety in Heat programme plays a key role in building the culture of occupational health and safety in Abu Dhabi. The Center strives, through this programme, to enhance the health and safety of all employees in the UAE’s workplaces.
The programme this year is distinguished by its provision of awareness materials in several languages through its website and social media channels. In addition, it provides recommendations and guidelines regarding work at noon time for those fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. The Center has also launched a mobile application connected to the Safety in Heat website, to make information accessible at any time.
The Center, in collaboration with the Supreme Establishment of Economic Zones, will pay a number of awareness visits to the workers’ cities of ZonesCorp. In addition, OSHAD will conduct other visits in collaboration with Musanada to some of its projects. Publications have been distributed in several languages, and workers will be taught about the importance of dietary habits in preventing heat-related illnesses. Recommended dietary habits include eating healthy, low-sugar meals that contain sufficient quantities of salt, and drinking water frequently. Caffeinated drinks should be avoided. In addition to proper eating and drinking habits, workers should wear suitable clothes and frequently take breaks in shaded areas to recuperate from heat exposure.
In addition to these visits, the Center will organise a competition for the workers’ cities and evaluate their compliance with the conditions and requirements of occupational health and safety. The cities that show best practices in conformity with the general framework of the Abu Dhabi System of Occupational Health and Safety will be rewarded.