Outdoor workers and delivery drivers can now proceed to work as normal starting from 15 September.
As of Thursday, 15 September, the Ministry of Labour has announced an end to summer working hours in public areas.
In a statement posted on social media, authorities marked the end of the legal ban on morning labour in open spaces and shaded areas without enough ventilation.
This is in compliance with the Ministerial Resolution No. 17 of 2021, which outlines the necessary safety measures to guard employees against the risks of heat stress throughout the summer.
The law also recently included food and service delivery drivers on motorcycles after several backlash from the public over health concerns while driving during peak heat hours.
Per the legislation, staff are prohibited to work outside between 10am and 3:30pm starting from June 1 and up until September 15 every year. This year’s amendments replaced an earlier legislation issued in 2007 that set the prohibited outdoor summertime working hours from 11:30am to 3:00pm, between June 15 until August 31.
With the new change, workers get an additional 2 hours away from the scorching summer sun, which highly affects the workers’ health and productivity. It also extended 15 more days than previous years.
The decision was part of the ministry’s aim of tightening control over the requirements and specifications of health and safety at work in open spaces for those who are exposed to high temperatures.
Is it safe, though?
Despite the end of the official ban, some have raised concerns over whether it is still safe for workers to return to normal hours.
According to a weather forecast by Qatar Meterology Department (QMD), temperatures in the Gulf nation this week range between 33-46 degrees Celsius, with high humidity levels that could still put workers at risk.
Extreme heat exposure can cause occupational-related diseases and severe injuries, including exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rashes, and heat strokes. High humidity can also cause sweaty palms, fogged safety glasses, and dizziness, which could eventually lead to workplace injuries, especially when it comes to construction work.
In a social media poll in June, 83% of participating Doha News readers stated that they do not think enough is being done to protect drivers from the heat. Weeks after, the ministry included drivers as part of the summer heat legislation.
Do you think the period enough? Tell us what you think in the comments!