The labour ministry’s labour inspection department on Wednesday reminded employers and workers that worker thermal regulation protocols must be followed, ahead of the summer season.
A written statement stressed that the risks to workers’ health from heat stress are particularly high, especially in view of the high temperatures that may prevail in the coming months, and reminded that all the relevant information can be found on the competent department’s website.
“The aim of the protocols is to help employers and self-employed persons to apply the provisions of the legislation, in order to avoid or reduce to an acceptable level the risks due to the exposure of workers to thermally burdened workplaces and create a safe, healthy and productive working environment,” a statement said.
The code provides that both employers and self-employed persons measure the parameters contributing to heat load, such as air temperature and relative humidity, and monitor weather reports and forecasts in order to adjust their work accordingly, by taking appropriate and sufficient measures to avoid or reduce heat stress.
They would also need to record any measures they have taken including changes in shift patterns and breaks, according to the guidelines included in a short guide prepared by the department.
The guide covers organising working time so that heavy work is carried out during the cooler hours of the day, arranging frequent short breaks for rest in a shaded, cool or suitably air-conditioned area or in an area where fans are used, where possible.
It also includes avoidance, where possible, of strenuous work outdoors during the hottest hours of the day, from noon to 4pm.
The guide also instructs providing workers with cool drinking water (at a temperature of 10-15C), providing and using appropriate headgear, wearing light, loose, breathable clothing such as cotton, using suitable sunglasses, avoiding large meals, sugary foods, alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, and providing training for employees.
Lastly, it recommends that workers with health problems, such as cardiovascular or other diseases, take extra care and consult their doctor when they may be exposed to heat stress.