More than 270 violations of Qatar’s summer labor law aim to protect workers from the heat

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A law designed to protect people in Qatar from working outdoors in scorching summer temperatures has been broken in hundreds employer in the last weeks.

Labor Department figures seen byThe Independent show that it has broken 276 breaches of the summer work policy – which aims to prevent anyone from working outside between 10am and 3.30pm from June 1 to September 15 – since the annual law came into force earlier last month.

The number of violations recorded covers the period up to July 20th.

More than two-thirds of the violations involved the construction industry, officials said. There were also concerns about the level of warmth Exposure of other workers, including those delivering food and security personnel.

Those found breaking the law face a three-day closure of the workplace. Further violations can lead to the permanent closure of a company.

Temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in Qatar’s summer months, with forecasts calling for temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) next week.

The number of breaches is seen by critics as particularly worrying given that it comes just four months before the start of the World Cup, despite years of promises of better protections for workers in Qatar.

“The heat and humidity for several months out of the year is potentially deadly,” said Nick McGeehan, a director of FairSquare Projects, a human rights and advocacy group. “It can kill people or lead to all sorts of other conditions. It is extremely dangerous.”

He added: “What does it say about law enforcement in Qatar? It says employers aren’t worried about breaking the law, and doing so so close to the World Cup should make people wonder how well other laws are being respected.”

The Gulf state, which is set to host the first-ever World Cup in the Middle East in November, has come under constant criticism for its treatment of workers, particularly blue-collar workers, since it was granted the right to host the tournament in 2010.

The final total of breaches is expected to top last year’s tally of 342, despite the nearness to the start of football’s biggest tournament and increased scrutiny of Qatar.

Heat stress has long been identified as a potential killer, with some estimates claiming that hundreds of workers in Qatar die every year due to searing temperatures that put a tremendous strain on the human cardiovascular system and potentially lead to heart attacks, research has shown.

A BBC Arabic Research released earlier this year uncovered claims that Qatar underreported the number of migrant workers who have died from heatstroke.

However, Qatar has denied such a claim, saying it has taken measures to protect workers, including the ban on daytime work. Other initiatives include providing workers with cooling vests.

A Qatari official said The Independent that the number of reported violations this year indicates that the policy is being applied rigorously by the government.

“Companies have become more compliant as enforcement efforts deepen and awareness of the new laws increases,” the official said.

They continued: “The number of summer workplace violations recorded this year reflects the relentless pressure the government is putting on the business community. Controls have increased, workers have more channels to submit their grievances.”

The Summer Working Hours Policy was introduced by Doha in 2007.

The International Labor Organization, a UN agency, has an office in central Doha. Its leader, Max Tuñón, said: “We believe that the development of evidence-based heat stress legislation and the commitment to effective implementation that we have seen in Qatar can inspire other countries to take similar steps.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/qatar-world-cup-heat-violations-b2130592.html More than 270 violations of Qatar’s summer labor law aim to protect workers from the heat

Fry Electronics Team

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