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Labour Ministry issues heat warning

File photo

With the heat wave continuing to grip Cyprus, the labour ministry on Monday called on employers and the self-employed to suspend all work under direct sunlight exposure. An extreme high temperature warning issued by the met office and a red alert from the forestry department are also in force.

Citing high temperatures in combination with humidity levels, the labour ministry said “these conditions can endanger workers who are exposed to heat stress and / or seriously affect their health”.

On Sunday, the met office  issued a orange weather warning in force until 5 pm on Monday. It said the temperature inland is set to hit 42C, while on the coast it will be around 37C and 35C in the mountains.

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.

Meanwhile, the forestry department also issued a red alert for fires, saying the critical weather and dry conditions could lead to rapid or dramatic increases of forest fires.

The department urged the public to be especially careful of their activities as the slightest spark could start a huge fire.

It reminded the public that the fine for those who start a fire without a licence amounts to up to 10 years in prison or €50,000 or both sentences combined according to the forest law of 2012, and up to five years in jail or €20,000 according to the Prevention of Fires in the Rural Areas Act 1988.

Anyone who spots smoke or fire in or near the forest should contact 1407 (Forest Department) or 112 (Fire Department).

 

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