Protect workers from summer heat: Ministry

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: May 17 – The Ministry of Oil and Gas has urged all companies operating in the sector to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of employees working outside during summer. Companies have been asked to comply with regulations mentioned in the Minimum Requirement Document for employees’ safety. Once the Ministry of Manpower announces the midday break for such workers from June, these companies will allow them to take a break from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm.
“The oil and gas sector is ready for the mid-day break; it doesn’t mean they have to stop working during summer, but they have to meet the minimum requirement for continuing work,” Engineer Salim al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, said. “If a company wants to continue work during summer, it should strictly comply with minimum requirements. The requirements include shady areas close to work where employees can take rest, cooling areas, drinking water and other safety measures,” he said. If a company doesn’t meet these requirements, it will not be allowed to continue work. The Ministry of Manpower allows all construction workers and those exposed to the sun to stop work at sites between 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm from June 1 until the end of August.
It will hold nationwide campaigns to educate construction workers on the need to take a midday break because of the heat. Those violating rules will be fined not less than RO 100 and not more than RO 500 and a jail term of not more than one year, as per Article 118 of Omani Labour Law. Repeated violations will entail cancellation of the licence. “Companies operating in the oil and gas sector have devices to measure temperature, ambience, stress levels and so on. These are some of the criteria mentioned in the minimum standards document,” he said. “However, all companies must give a three-hour midday break to those working outside,” he added.