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Wed 1 Jul 2009 06:08 PM

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Firms stick to midday work ban on Day 1

EXCLUSIVE: No violations found during Arabian Business visits to construction sites.

Silence descended upon building sites in the UAE on Wednesday on the first day of the summer time working hours for construction workers.

An Arabian Business survey of several construction sites in Garhoud, Burj Dubai and along Sheikh Zayed Road indicated many firms were complying with the rules which prohibit labourers from working outdoors between 12.30pm and 3pm until August 31.

With temperatures nudging 46 degrees centigrade, workers downed tools to nap under makeshift shelters or chat in the cool shade offered by half-complete buildings.

In order to ensure compliance with the ban, the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs in Dubai, in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, said it had created three inspection teams to survey construction sites in the early afternoon.

Companies violating the ban would be reported to the relevant authorities, with the inspectors carrying out an awareness campaign to make sure workers were aware of the rules, said Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, director general of the Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department (DNRD) and the head of the Permanent Committee of Labour Affairs.

Al-Shafar General Contracting Company (ASGC) had restructured workers’ eight-hour shift patterns so they were working earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon and early evening to ensure compliance with the ban, said CEO Bishoy Azmy.

“We do believe it’s the correct decision to have the ban as workers cannot be expected to work in these conditions within this climate,” he said.

“We’ve been complying with the ban,” said a spokeswoman for Al Habtoor Leighton Group. “All our projects will remain on schedule and underway during the ban.”

Temperatures reached close to 46 degrees centigrade on Wednesday, according to the Dubai Metrological Office, which described daytime conditions as “sunny, hot and uncomfortable.”

Al Marri said since the mid-day ban was introduced in 2005 the number of violations by firms had decreased yearly.

He said 55 violations were detected by the committee in Dubai last year, compared to 113 in 2007.

Inspection teams would also check the availability of cooling systems and sheds to protect workers from direct sunlight as well as other preventive measures to ensure healthy work conditions, he said.

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saif 11 years ago

the sort of pay labours get is ridiculous and the amount of hours they have to work is unimaginable so its good they can afford to relax 3 hours during the crouching heat hours.every company should strictly follow this otherwise there should be a huge fine!i still believe the break should be between 12-4pm. cheers saif

debbie 11 years ago

Hi Hurrah to the lunchtime working ban, I lived in Dubai for 10 yrs before the ban came in; the conditions the construction guys work in were dreadful, but surely someone must realise if they are working earlier in the morning and later into the evening they are being exposed to another extremity....humidity!! The poor guys must be extremely dehydrated at the end of their shifts, who knows what damage they are doing to their bodies longterm!