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Monday, September 27, 2021

Midday construction ban ends despite searing temperatures across Qatar

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Le Mirage construction site
Le Mirage construction site

Qatar’s annual summer midday outdoor work ban expired today despite the high humidity and temperatures above 40C across Doha, allowing employers to send their staff to construction sites during the hottest part of the day.

Between June 15 and Aug. 31, employees are prohibited from working outdoors between 11:30am and 3pm and cannot work for more than five hours in the morning.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) spokesperson confirmed to Doha News that the ban was lifted today and that companies would not be sanctioned if their employees were working during the middle of the day.

But with the humidity making it feel closer to 55C at noon today, several construction firms said they were giving their employees more frequent and longer breaks, along with implementing other measures aimed at protecting the health of their workers.

That includes Linc, which provides facility management services at the Emiri Terminal at Hamad International Airport:

Construction sites

The Bin Mahmoud neighborhood of Doha is dotted with construction sites as new apartment buildings sprout up. Around 2pm this afternoon, however, several projects appeared relatively quiet and virtually void of construction workers.

Noura Park construction site.
Noura Park construction site.

Shannon Engineering Co., which is leading the construction of a pair of residential buildings dubbed Noura Park, moved its day shift of approximately 340 workers into the shade during the hottest part of the day, according to health and safety officer Karlo Chavez.

Shannon Engineering's heat stress index.
Shannon Engineering’s heat stress index.

Inside his office, he showed Doha News a heat stress chart that dictates the minimum amount of rest and water construction laborers should receive – and when work should stop entirely – depending on the temperature and humidity levels.

“We closely follow this index,” Chavez said. “We want to protect our people. We don’t want anyone getting heat stroke or (involved) in an accident.”

Additionally, he said the company provides its workers with ice and hydration powder for their water.

Several blocks over, work was in full swing at the Le Mirage construction site, where workers could be seen unloading materials from cranes.

Raafat El Hage, a manager at Challenger Trading and Contracting, said the company shortened its midday break from three hours to two today. However, he said the firm was considering a return to the three-hour stoppage if the hot temperatures persist throughout the week.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

El Hage said that every hour, workers receive a 10-minute break in the shade and were encouraged to drink water constantly. Anyone feeling ill should stop work immediately, he added.

“If someone feels like they need a break, they can take some time,” El Hage said.

This afternoon, a steady stream of workers clad in blue overalls could be seen leaving the site to refill their water bottles outside an adjacent mosque. Several confirmed to Doha News that they had received a two-hour break that day, but declined to discuss their working conditions in detail.

While some companies appear to be taking steps to protect their workers during the heat through reduced work hours and high-tech cooling gear, the practices are not universal.

In its 2013 report on Qatar’s construction sector, Amnesty International documented several cases of men collapsing or suffering heat stroke after working long summer shifts.

And earlier this year, at least 42 companies had their construction sites temporarily closed by MOLSA for flouting the midday outdoor work ban during the first month the restrictions were in place.

Thoughts?

78 COMMENTS

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procan
procan
6 years ago

Have I got a Union for you : ) International Labours Union justsayin.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  procan

ITUC again?

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago

You again?

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

“Between June 15 and Aug. 31, employees are prohibited from working outdoors between 11:30am and 3pm and cannot work for more than five hours in the morning.” It’s the 1st of September.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

You Sir are brilliant.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

His ability to read a calendar is very impressive isn’t it? Clearly an engineer, but must be survey, not something real like mechanical.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Gold star!

Katie
6 years ago

I think you missed the point Osama.

The temperature isn’t any better on 1st September than it was on August 31. The ban on midday working should be extended until at least mid-September if not October.

These poorly paid workers are constructing the buildings your compatriots will soon be renting out for extortionate rates – have some compassion.

Katie

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Poorly paid comapred to to who or what , everything is relative to their home country . The summer working directive is a good tool and good decent companies go over and above like mine .Shaded areas / heat stress tests/ extended breaks / de misted working areas / rotation buddy working system / shift rotation . electolyte replenishment and enforced leave cycles are all part of managing a construction site in extreme conditions . Being perscriptive is a get out and it’s endemic in this region . Performance based action and risk management are the best tools you can use .
I have been managing men and projects for 20 years in the Gulf and have not had one heat related injury and that’s because of apply basic risk management . It also promoted morale / well being and even productivity .

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

Poorly paid relative to the contribution they make to the economy here. (Shouldn’t that be more of a factor than what they could earn back home, a factor that is essentially irrelevant to what they do here)

Katie

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

No it’s not . Everything and anything is always relative to the workers own host country . The expat labour in the gulf and around the world are working for what’s relative to them , it is the whole ethos for most people being here . For some host countries the remittances are vital to their own GDP . People want treating fairly and want paying on time and contractual dues paid . It’s a very simple basic need . The whole planet works on economically I viable labour in whatever market .
It’s why we’re all here .

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

I don’t think I’m getting myself across very well. Of course pay is the primary reason why people come here – I’m not saying it’s irrelevant in that sense. It’s just that in most (developed) countries, the value of what you contribute to your company and to the economy is also a factor in how much you make e.g. it doesn’t matter what nationality you are, if you’re a bin man you’re not going to make much money and if you’re a high level academic you’ll probably earn a decent living.

Katie

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

You’re not in a developed country and that’s the crux of it . Use the expat two bucket theory ., it’s served me well for 25 years .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

Yes, I think that is the important thing that people need to keep in mind. Don’t expect developed world standards of Qatar yet – maybe one day, but not now.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

Your first sentence betrays your culture. Everything is relative to their home country only because Qatar has a restrictive and punitive labour system that abuses internationally recognised workers rights and allows it to dictate wage levels and shamelessly exploit the poorest people in the world. If Qatar had a free competitive labour market do you think the wage levels would be as they are now? Whatever the skills of the individual worker, Qatar knowingly and deliberately devalues them and their contribution to the Qatari economy.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

actually you missed his valid point & so did DN reporters ( & few childish commentators ).after the ban is removed . companies do have the option for working for longer hours , which most will take an advantage of , the peak of summer heat is over . so no body should be surprised if they see workers working at those times .since the ban is no longer active . ppl here should really read before they comment .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I don’t re-award contracts to any construction company who takes advantage of (the fully legal) chance to work longer days. They don’t like it, but they learn the lesson after a bit.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

what????

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

What what?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

You could also argue that backwards and say it isn’t much hotter on Aug 31 than Sept 1, so why not end the ban on August 30, or 29, and so on…

In any case there is probably a better argument for saying the ban should start earlier, rather than be extended longer, if you look at a graph of average temperatures in Doha. I’d rather be working on Sept 1 than June 1.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Katie

I didn’t miss the point, it was defined by date, not by how hot the sun may be…

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago

Yo are of course correct, but it speaks to how poorly run some of these companies are if that is how they conduct themselves. Of course, that is no surprise I guess.

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago

It’s actually ‘under direct sunlight’ . That initself makes a massive difference .

qatari
qatari
6 years ago

sorry man. kids here dont know that on Aug31 there was a ban , on Sep1 no longer. which means companies are good to go now.& companies are not doing any wrong if they took the extra hrs now.

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I know, qatari. There’s no issue with comprehension here. There’s a difference between not understanding something and not agreeing with it. I understand perfectly – I just think it’s wrong. I’m guessing you would have a different perspective if it was your own compatriots working in this weather.

Katie

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

agreeing with a law if it is right or wrong is relatively different to each person . but that does not mean you go break it , or in this case , a ban was lifted , so no laws are broken. its a simple as that.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

That doesn’t mean that the law is right.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

right or wrong , you cant break it, welcome to the real world

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Cool, then you fully support the ban on hijab in France? It is legal you know.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

i as a Qatari cant change laws in France , or a Frenchmen in Qatar , right or wrong . dosent matter if i with it or against it , you just cant , not your place to do so .its called the real world .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well, let’s be frank, you as a Qatari have no impact on the laws of Qatari either, n’est pas? That’s something for citizens, not whatever it is that Qataris are. Now, to your ‘real world’ …people and nations pressure and influence those outside of their borders all the time – it’s called the real world.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

sorry but you dont make sense , so people of the land dont make thier own laws but outsiders ???? are you ok , sir ????

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Laws are made for you, not by you. You have no input into how your betters run that country, which is something citizens do have. Someday if you ever have the privilege of becoming a citizen you will be taught the responsibilities that go with it. As it is now, as a Qatari, you do not have those responsibilities – someone else makes those decisions for you.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

huh, just like when US invaded Iraq every responsible citizen was privilege to support it. yup very smart . how is Iraq doing now ????

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Yep, Iraq is a disaster, I wish that they would stop killing each other. What is it with the Arab desire to fight and kill each other? I’ve never understood that.

Anyway, when you have taken a basic civics class we’ll have a conversation, as it is now you have too many holes in your knowledge to have a meaningful conversation.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

your ability to give a right answer is funny, i hope your not in the education system here,

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I am not ‘here’, I am elsewhere. I am glad that I am able to keep you entertained.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

well i do have the time now a days .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

X box broken?

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

nah. i prefer PS .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Oh, you’re one of them…;-)

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

It seems that your knowledge of historical change is limited – most change has been brought about by repeated violations of the law. Let’s think..Rosa Parks, Loving v. Virginia, Steve Biko. By your logic Palestinians should accept their treatment, because after all, it is legal.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

people of the land can change the laws of the land. forced outsiders change can & sometimes will cause chaos , perfect example ( US democracy in Iraq )

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Mmmm, so, sanctions and external pressure never have an impact on the laws of a country? You’re being more than little bit naive, don’t you think?

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

YEAH, sanctions & external pressure stopped Russia’s war with Ukraine, or Syrian regime from killing his people . you point doesn’t really apply in The REAL WORLD

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Sanctions and external pressure changed apartheid in South Africa and brought Iran to the negotiating table. That’s the way it works in the real world.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

Russia & Syria ?? did they miss that note . Ha

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Yep, doesn’t work every time, but works often enough. Just take a look at how Qatar is changing its laws in response to foreign pressure.You make a good point though, major powers like Russia and China are much harder to pressure than countries like Qatar and South Africa.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

bullying people are the better term , ( force used by powerful countries ) nothing to do with right & wrong . it the logic of ( civilized privileged citizen )

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Oh c’mon,the debt owed by the Qatari leadership to the Americans is huge. It is has be repaid somehow, and this is one of the ways that it is done. That’s the way it is done in your ‘real world’.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

ha, which makes all your logic of ( right thing & wrong thing ) means nothing . you cant change laws , they don’t apply in your country (even in the US some of those laws made the court cant be changed ) . its nothing to do with fairness. THAT is the real world.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well, if you want to live in a world where it is all about strength, then the American run Qatar, right? They could roll of their base and do whatever they want, there’d be no one to stop them. But they don’t…why not? Oh yeah, because we don’t live in a world where it is all about strength.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

really, like QATAR can say or have the option to say no to the US ?Qatar do play a big part in the region on behalf of the US, (hostage negotiations., etc ) it does puts the small nation at risk , but sometimes the nerd kid do the bully kid homework’s .LOL

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Mmmm, so would you call Qatar’s attempt to raise its international profile through money and investment bullying, or using influence to further its national objectives?

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

its an attempt that would always have its limits as long as we have someones shadow behind us ,instead of our own .

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

that sounded cool . you can use my last comment in your book

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well, that is the way it will remain. The Americans or the Chinese will be Qatar’s patron for the foreseeable future, and as Qatar’s wealth continues to fall it will become more and more beholden to an outside power.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

unless the balance tips to some other country , till then right or wrong , it doesn’t matter .

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Yep, the boss on the block is always changing.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

im hoping for India, that would be fun

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I’d prefer a return to Iran, but that is just me.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

return of what ???

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Iran’s role as the lead Gulf power.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

i doubt it.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well, things were so calm and orderly until the Iranians withdrew inward and the Saudis took over. They haven’t done a particularly good job I don’t think.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

Saudis took over what ????

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

To become the lead Gulf power – they filled the vacuum after 1979.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

& what did the Saudis did so bad till now? i didn’t see them doing anything that i can call good or bad job

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

They are largely responsible for the spread of the radical Wahhabism through their training in Saudi Arabia of imams who have spread that idealogy throughout the Gulf and greater ME, and also through their financing of radical madrassas. Qatar is, of course, guilty as well, but nothing like the Saudis, who have been at it for decades.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

that’s the view of an outsider , which does not hold . we never had had a problem in most countries except the ones that had Iran hand in the matter . ( Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, yeman .) name other counties that according to you KSA had influence on.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I dare say that you’re too young to remember the good old days when Iran was in charge; however, it is a good example of the instinctive and unthinking fear that the Gulf country nationals have of Iran. Saudi Arabia is directly responsible for the radicalization in Pakistan and the Sudan. Iran kept radical Sunnis under control, whereas Saudi Arabia have been supporting them around the world.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

still, show countries that the influence of Saudis has caused war/conflict, while ive given you my examples of Iran part in those countries .

Katie
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

So, if there was a law, and you felt that it wasn’t just, you’d just stay quiet? For example, should conservative Muslims in France ‘put up and shut up’ instead of complaining about the burka ban, because, after all, it’s the law.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Katie

im a Qatari , my saying in the matter wont matter to France , would it .????

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Right and wrong and legal and illegal are two different things though, aren’t they? If it was too dangerous for people work under these conditions on the 31st, then it also was on the 1st. There is a difference, and the lack of concern for the health of the workforce speaks volumes about the company leadership.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

your use of word is harsh , “too dangerous” it like they are working in a war zone. its WORKING UNDER DIRECT SUN for certain hrs of the day where its consider to be harder in the peak of summer . not type of work / or all day thing that was banned. pleas read the story more carefully next time.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Love the top photo with the steelfixer balancing on a scaffold pole. No helmet. H&S at it’s best.

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago

Here’s a thought?

Why not allow construction managers to work the labourers any time of day they like, at any time of year they like – so long as their own office air conditioners are electrically disabled?

After all, they’ll have shade, a water cooler, and for a bit of fresh air they can open a window! And they’d still be in a better environment than the labourers!

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