Summer work ban extension urged in Bahrain
Manama, June 5, 2013
Campaigners are calling on the Bahrain government to bring forward a midday ban on outdoor work, after doctors yesterday reported that more than 50 people required medical treatment within 24 hours.
Bahrain bans all outdoor work between midday and 4pm during July and August to protect employees from potentially fatal heat-related conditions, such as heat stroke, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
However, with temperatures already hitting 40C a group that campaigns for foreign workers' rights is urging authorities to extend the midday ban until the beginning of June.
"The July and August work ban from noon until 4pm is welcome, but the weather is hot from around the end of April," Migrant Workers Protection Society chairwoman Marietta Dias told the GDN yesterday.
"It actually starts getting very uncomfortable in May and it is really hot in June."
Bahrain has been posting record temperatures in recent years, with the hottest June day on record being June 20, 2010 - when the mercury rocketed to 46.9C.
A year earlier, June 2009 went on record as the hottest June since records began in 1902, with an average temperature of 35.2C for the month.
Last year saw the fourth hottest June on record, with an average daily temperature of 34.7C - more than 2C above normal.
The MWPS wants the midday outdoor work ban to start on June 1 and continue until the end of August, particularly in light of seasonal dust that has blanketed the country over the past two days.
"This affects the workers who are at the mercy of their employers," she said. "It would be appropriate for the government to consider a three-month ban rather than two months. The step would actually increase productivity and protect workers' health."
A doctor at Salmaniya Medical Complex confirmed yesterday that more than 50 people, most of them Asian construction workers, were treated at the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department since Monday afternoon. – TradeArabia News Service