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Heatwave warning from labour ministry

The labour ministry on Tuesday called on employers and the self-employed to take all measures to protect staff and themselves citing the possibility of a heatwave.

According to the labour inspection office, on Tuesday and the coming days, temperatures in combination with humidity levels could create serious heatwave conditions which would make the interruption of activities or adjustments to the working schedule imperative.

“These conditions can endanger workers who are exposed to heat stress and / or seriously affect their health,” it said.

According to the law, when the temperature is between 39 degrees Celsius and 44C if the levels of relative humidity prevail exceed a set limit, work activity must stop. These levels depend on the type of the work:

Type of Work Temperature (under shade) oC
39 40 41 42 43 44
Light Work: ≥ 53% ≥ 48% ≥ 43% ≥ 39% ≥ 34% ≥ 29%
Medium Intensity Work: ≥ 48% ≥ 43% ≥ 38% ≥ 34% ≥ 29% ≥ 26%
Heavy Work: ≥ 42% ≥ 37% ≥ 33% ≥ 28% ≥ 25% ≥ 21%

Employers and the self-employed are urged to measure the parameters that contribute to heat stress and regulate work according to their activities. They are advised to organise heavy duty activities to take place during the cooler hours of the day, avoid outside work when possible, between noon and 4pm, make sure staff work under shade and in a cool environment, offer cool drinking water to their staff, make sure staff wear protective head gear.

The labour inspection office gave office work and driving as light work, and plumbing, electrical work, construction-related activities as medium work. As heavy work the labour office has classed intense manual labour, digging or breaking hard materials using machinery weighing over 15 kilogrammes, laying asphalt with manual means.


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