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Water and Shade Needed for Outdoor Workers

UAE labour ministry inspectors find more than 140 companies flouting midday break rules

Water, vitamin supplements and shelter must be made available to all outdoor workers to cope with stifling summer temperatures, the UAE government has told companies.

The midday break lasts until September 15 during which outdoor workers must be allowed to rest from 12.30pm to 3pm daily.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Maher Al Obed, the assistant undersecretary for inspections, warned companies that workers needed the break to meet health and safety requirements.

Last week, The National visited work sites around Dubai and Abu Dhabi and found labourers whose companies that were flouting the midday break, by failing to give their employees water and basic shade. One worker, Termebdor Jaswan, 27, from India, described working "in unbearable heat and a low amount of water". Others said they had no access to toilets on-site, forcing them to walk in the midday heat to nearby malls.

“Temperatures are unbearable during summer times in the UAE and workers need the break,” Mr Al Obed said.

More than 140 companies were found to be breaching the rule, the department said, though the vast majority complied.

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Paul Edwards
Editor for HSME
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