Firms defying mid-day break face heat

Muscat, July 17 – The Ministry of Manpower has begun random checks at various work sites across the country after complaints that many companies were flouting the mid-day break rule for outdoor workers.
These latest checks are expected to ensure companies adhere to the rule.
As per Article (16) of its HSE policy, the ministry has stipulated that workers in outdoor construction sites or areas exposed to high temperatures should stop work between 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm in the months of June, July and August every year because of high temperatures.
“Companies not adhering to the three-month mid-day break for outdoor workers are being punished. Repeated offences will attract other punitive actions, including cancellation of licence,” said a source at the ministry.
The ministry has also found some companies were compensating the lost time with “unpaid overtime work”.
“Companies should not compensate lost time with unpaid overtime work, which is against the law. Offenders will be dealt with accordingly,” it warned.
Meanwhile, companies are said to be offering safety and security gear to their workers to protect them from the scorching heat. Others are carrying out campaigns to educate workers about safeguarding themselves from heat.
“We are conducting a heat stress campaign at our work sites aimed at educating workers about the effects of working in summer during mid-day in Shinas, Liwa, Sohar and Saham,” said Eng Ahmed al Mazroui, CEO of Majis Industrial Service Co.
The company had undertaken similar campaigns in the previous years.
“Such campaigns create awareness about the risk of exposure to direct sunlight when working in open areas, while enlightening workers about the right procedures to be followed in an emergency,” he said.
It has been found heat stroke is a severe medical condition which can impact brain and pose risk to diabetics and patients with heart problems.

KABEER YOUSUF