With summer now well underway in Qatar, officials are rolling out some new equipment to help outdoor workers stay a little cooler.
Rubbish trolleys used by cleaners now have shades on them to protect the employees from direct sunlight.
The move was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME).
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) May 10, 2017
The trolleys will be rolled out across Qatar this week, and have drawn praise from many residents who thanked authorities for their thoughtfulness.
In 2015, air conditioning was also mandated on worker transport, but compliance has been spotty since then.
Waiting for June
While the new extra shades are likely appreciated, summertime always poses a challenge for outdoor workers, who are vulnerable to heat stroke and other illnesses.
This is especially the case before the midday work ban takes effect in June.
Even though temperatures are already hitting the low 40Cs (>104F) this month, many construction workers, cleaners and gardeners are still toiling outside during the hottest part of the day.
Employers are not yet legally required to do anything about this until June 15.
From then until the end of August, outdoor workers are given a reprieve from 11:30am to 3pm and can work no more than five-hour shifts in the morning.
Speaking to Doha News previously, employees said working under the sun is difficult in May, but “part of the job.”
One man said:
“We just take short breaks or cover our faces and necks with scarves to protect ourselves from the heat. The company can’t do anything else. The weather is hot. What can we do?”