New safety warning in Bahrain as site deaths rise
Manama, July 27, 2014
An increase in worksite fatalities has prompted Bahrain officials to issue fresh warnings to construction companies to abide by regulations or face legal action.
The number of worksite deaths this year has already reached 70 per cent of last year's total, according to labour officials.
Labour Ministry inspection and labour unions director Ahmed Al Haiki said 14 people have died in worksite-related accidents in the first seven months of this year compared with 20 in the whole of last year, said a report in the Gulf daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"We won't be having so many fatalities if construction companies follow the Labour Law," he said.
"All construction workers must wear proper uniform and the companies should use proper equipment," Al Haiki said.
"We have asked all construction companies to buy equipment that is certified or approved by the ministry.
"We have also asked all the companies to hire safety officers to check everything before they start work at the site.
"This is the best way to avoid such accidents.
"We have so many times urged companies to stop flouting safety law and we keep repeating it."
Al Haiki also urged companies to protect labourers, who are exposed to scorching temperatures during the summer.
"Those working in the sun should wear a hat or cover their heads, wear light coloured cotton clothes and consume sufficient amounts of liquids such as water and juices frequently," he said.
"Eating fat-free food and avoiding exposure to the sun at noon are also essential steps that can be taken."
Bahrain prohibits all outdoor work between midday and 4pm during July and August to protect the workforce from potentially fatal heat-related medical conditions.
The GDN has reported that 107 companies, involving 398 workers, have violated the ban since the restriction was enforced on July 1.
Penalties for violating the work ban include fines ranging from BD500 ($1,318) to BD1,000, which is applicable to employers of domestic workers as well.
Labour Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossary earlier reiterated that companies were required to ensure non-Muslim staff get refreshments in private during Ramadan - particularly those who risk dehydration by working outdoors in high temperatures.
People are banned from eating and drinking in public during daylight hours in Bahrain. - TradeArabia News Service