UAE hospital to pass on heat-related worker cases to labour ministry
By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: June 29, 2008, 23:41
Dubai: Heat cases coming into the Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre from 12.30pm to slightly after 3pm will have to provide details of their company, their work and their location as a way to catch midday break rule violators.
The two-month midday break, during which time labourers are not allowed to work, begins on Monday. The Ministry of Labour implemented the rule, in its fourth year, to prevent heat-related illnesses due to working during the hottest part of the day.
Dr Viktor Mikhaeel Butros, surgical specialist in-charge at the Trauma Centre, told Gulf News the centre would be collecting the data from labourers who come in during those hours.
"We will include company names so we will know who is violating the law. We will also get the location and [the type of work] they've been doing," he said.
He added the centre would continue taking this information for labourers who come in after 3pm, which is when the midday break ends, saying heat-related illnesses take time to develop.
Previously, the centre only took the name, age and nationality of the patient. At the end of the two-month period, the data will be made available to the Labour Ministry.
More than 1,200 companies violated the Ministry of Labour's edict on midday breaks in 2005. The number has declined since then with the ministry's Inspection Department reporting 862 violations in 2006 and 617 in 2007.
First-time violators will be fined Dh10,000. The company's status will also be downgraded for three months and any visa applications will be blocked. Second-time violators will get a fine of Dh20,000 and downgraded for six months. Third-time violators will be fined Dh30,000 and their work permit suspended for a year.
Dr Butros said so far, there had been "very few" heat cases, unlike last year, which recorded 82 cases and two deaths. The centre also recorded 16 cases in July last year. No data for August was available.
In preparation for the hot season, Dr Viktor Mikhaeel Butros, surgical specialist in-charge at the Trauma Centre, advised residents and labourers alike to remain hydrated, drink plenty of water and electrolytes, be it at work or at play.
He also said people should stay in the shade as much as possible and be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, such as high core body temperature, dizziness, lethargy, nausea and confusion.
If left untreated, it can lead to death. The elderly, children under four years old and obese people are also vulnerable.
We will include company names so we will know who is violating the law. We will also get the location."