Summer work ban fines tripled
Manama, June 28, 2013
Bahrain has tripled fines for companies that breach the summer ban on outdoor work. The maximum penalty per worker caught flouting the rule has more than tripled to BD1,000, while the minimum fine has risen 10-fold to BD500.
The law, which prohibits all outdoor work between midday and 4 pm, comes into effect on Monday and will run until the end of August, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
It aims to protect workers from potentially fatal conditions such as heat stroke.
Bahrain has been posting record temperatures in recent years with the mercury rising as high as 47.4 deg C during the hottest months of the year.
Labour Ministry occupational safety section head Hussain Al Shami confirmed tougher punishments had been introduced to try and ensure more companies follow the rule.
"The punishment has increased, now it starts from BD500 to BD1,000," he said on the sidelines of a workshop to brief companies about the changes in this year's ban.
"Before the new law it was from BD50 to a maximum of BD300.
"According to the new law each labour offence will be fined, so if you have three people working then there will be three fines. So if there are multiple violations there will be multiple fines."
Businessmen and industry professionals attended the event, held under the patronage of Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan in co-operation with the Bahrain Health and Safety Society.
It was held at the Diplomat Radisson BLU Hotel, Residence and Spa.
Al Shami said the law had been amended to cover a larger segment of the workforce, not only construction workers but also other sectors such as labourers who fix air conditioning units or the people who put up street advertisements.
"The law will also cover those working in farms, contracting and roadworks, like those who fix the lights on the highway," he said. "It is just much wider in terms of the coverage of this law."
Since the law was implemented in 2007 the number of heat-related injuries during July and August has dropped from a high of 53 to an average of four.
"This year we will have the same number of inspectors, which is around 30, but because people are more used to the law, as it is in its seventh year, they seem to be following it," said Al Shami.
"The percentage of compliance to the new law reached between 97 and 99 per cent in recent years, so it seems it has stabilised." Officials earlier ruled out extending the summer work ban despite an appeal by rights activists. - TradeArabia News Service
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