Muscat – The Ministry of Labour (MoL) has proposed a range of solutions to protect workers from the scorching summer heat, particularly during the months of June, July and August.
Zakaria Khamees al Saadi, Head of MoL’s Occupational Safety and Health Department, affirmed the ministry’s commitment to ensuring worker safety by enforcing a suspension of outdoor work at midday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
Saadi emphasised various alternatives to mitigate the effects of heat exposure, including the provision of air-conditioned (AC) rest areas, rescheduling physically demanding tasks to cooler hours, and implementing a rotational system where employees work for 45 minutes followed by a 15-minute break.
Regarding operations of fuel stations at midday from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, the ministry is actively engaging in community awareness campaigns discouraging refueling unless absolutely necessary, Saadi informed.
“In the event of any violations identified at establishments operating during midday hours, the ministry will take legal action in accordance with the provisions of Article 118 of the Labour Law.”
A dedicated task force will monitor establishments for violations and refer repeat offenders to judicial authorities. Penalties for violations can include fines of up to RO500 and/or a maximum imprisonment of one month.
Reports on non-compliant establishments can be submitted via phone or through the ministry’s websites.
The recently concluded second Heat Stress Forum 2023, held under the patronage of H E Sheikh Nasr al Hosni, Undersecretary for Labour in MoL, in collaboration with Oman Energy Association (OPAL), highlighted the importance of raising awareness among stakeholders and the community about the risks of high temperatures at the workplace during summer.