Jul 16, 2009

Inspectors ensure outdoor workers in Dubai take midday break

Dubai: A worker was spotted at around 1pm painting the outside wall of a villa in Al Warqaa area in one of two midday break violations that the ministry of labour inspectors registered in Dubai on Wednesday.

The second case was also registered in Al Warqaa and involved a group working on a villa project.

Watch video: Too hot to work

"Today is the first day I continued to work during the break. Usually I honour the midday break rule," said the shocked worker.



A group of inspectors, headed by Maher Al Obad, Executive Director for Inspection Affairs at the Ministry, was accompanied by a group of journalists on an awareness and inspection tour to foster a culture of respect for the midday break rule which stipulates a halt to all outdoor work between 12.30pm until 3pm during the months of July and August.

The awareness-driven visits aim to educate workers on their rights and the danger of working in hot conditions, as well as to educate site supervisors and safety officers.

"We work to foster a work environment which respects the midday break rule and a culture which protects workers' basic human rights through these tours," said Al Obad adding that the high adherence rate showed that the efforts were paying off.

About 16,323 out of the 16, 524 inspected sites across the country were found adhering to the midday break rule, while 201 sites were found violating the rule since this year's implementation, according to the ministry of labour statistics.

Ministry inspectors say communication with workers is one of the main challenges in their work.

"It is very difficult to talk to workers, I speak some Urdu and I still sometimes find it difficult but many of my colleagues really struggle with this issue", said Jasem Yaqoub, a newly appointed 22-year-old Emirati inspector.

Company probed

A company was summoned to the Ministry of Labour during the midday break rule inspection on Tuesday, for having a sick worker on site.

Maher Al Obad, Executive Director for Inspection Affairs at the Ministry, issued a summons request to one of the companies which they had visited on Wednesday after finding a worker lying down as he was sick.

Mustafa, a worker from Bangladesh, who was suffering from back pain and fever, was found lying down on a piece of cardboard.

"I have been suffering from back pain for about a month and I have had fever for the last two days but I cannot stay at home because I will have my salary deducted so I have to come even if I cannot carry out any duties," he told. .

However, Al Obad, said that having workers who are sick on site without receiving medical care is a violation of the labour law.

"We have summoned the company to investigate the issue and actions will be taken against the company if proven guilty," said Al Obad.

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