Despite warnings from the labour ministry last week of risks to employees working outside during high temperatures, unions said on Monday employers were still being too negligent.
After a renewed push by unions, the labour inspection office once more reminded employers and the self-employed on Monday that they are required to take all necessary measures to protect workers and themselves from the effects of working in high temperatures.
The warning followed a fresh yellow alert from the met office saying temperatures were once again expected to rise to 40 degrees Celsius inland on Monday and Tuesday.
“These conditions may put at risk workers and seriously affect their health,” a statement from the labour ministry said.
But according to Peo trade union, the health of workers is still being put at risk. The head of Peo, Pambis Kyritsis, urged the labour minister to launch an intensified campaign to remind employers of their obligations.
He stressed the need for a reassessment of the measures for protecting workers from thermal stress. Peo, he said, had suggested earlier in the year to bring back an older practice of the labour inspection office, whereby it used to record weather conditions and issued a statement on the measures employers need to take. This, Peo said, included stopping work between noon and 4pm for those who work outside and are exposed to the sun and the heat.
Such an announcement, he said, would help trade unionists but also all workers to “claim better protection from the heatwave”.
In attempts to help combat the effects of the heat, other departments have provided their services. The Lakatamia municipality offered the Lakatamia Multipurpose Centre on Monday as a cooling spot for those who need to rest from the effects of the heat. Located on 48, Aegean Street (tel: 22443747), the centre will be opened on other days as required.
The labour inspection office has also urged the public to avoid unnecessary sun exposure and heavy physical activities, to dress lightly and wear hats and sunglasses, use fans and air conditioning where possible and to take warm showers to help regulate body temperature. The public is also urged to drink plenty of water and avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, coffee, spices and rich food.