Plea to start outdoor work ban immediately expecting hottest June in Bahrain | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Plea to start outdoor work ban immediately expecting hottest June in Bahrain

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune –

Staff reporter

Construction and outdoor workers in Bahrain are pleading to the Labour and Social Development Ministry to implement an outdoor work ban instantly as mercury levels exceeded 42 degree Celsius yesterday. 

Every year, the ministry implements an outdoor work ban starting  July 1 with an aim to protect labourers from heat stress. 

Upon implementation, the ministry directs all employers to strictly follow the outdoor work ban in line with the Kingdom’s keenness to protect workers from occupational health issues and injuries, especially during the summer period, which witnesses a rise in temperature and an increase in humidity.    

The Labour Ministry has always implemented initiatives that affirm the Kingdom’s position as a leader in ensuring a secure and safe work environment for workers. 

Indian national Ramesh Kumar, a laborer, said it has become very difficult to work during afternoons with temperatures increasing day-by-day.

“We are hopeful that the rule will be issued ensuring a midday break between 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm.”

Another worker, who doesn’t want to be named, said it will be a great move if the ministry implements outdoor work ban in the month of June itself, although “it is usual for our bodies to bear this extreme temperature”.  

Speaking to The Daily Tribune, Lyn Le Altarejos, Director of Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, said the summer and warm weather is a welcome sight for most people, but it poses some serious risks and hazardous particularly to outdoor workers. 

“Definitely, I agree for a work ban this summer to protect and to safeguard our outdoor workers against sun-related illness, injuries and accidents. The high temperatures and humidity will cause body dehydration; Generally our human body consists of 60 per cent of water which needs to be maintained to survive. 

“Heavy physical exertion on an extremely hot day is all it takes to bring on heat stress that leads to symptoms like headaches, to severe, life-threatening heat stroke. After all, health is wealth.”  

According to an International Labour Organization report, which quotes many medics, labourers who work during heavy summers are at major health risk. “Above a certain threshold of heat stress, the body’s internal regulation mechanisms are no longer capable of maintaining body temperature at a level required for normal functioning... If the body temperature rises above 38°C (“heat exhaustion”), physical and cognitive functions are impaired; if it rises above 40.6°C (“heatstroke”), the risk of organ damage, loss of consciousness and, ultimately, death increases sharply.” 

Global warming is expected to exacerbate heat stress levels even further. According to a report by Germany’s Max Planck Institute, temperatures in the Mena region could increase by 4 degree Celsius by 2050. The report notes that “the people in the Middle East and North Africa will then have to expect about 200 unusually hot days per year toward the end of the 21st century”.