With the advent of summer, outdoor workers across the country require much-needed protection from the heat, and health experts are calling upon those working outside to protect themselves from the extreme temperatures.
Firms are required to provide outdoor workers additional facilities to protect them from the sun and the heat.
The midday break, which is set to be implemented across the country from tomorrow to September 15, will ensure that most outdoor workers get a two-and-a-half hour break from working everyday between 12:30 and 3pm.
Still, simply avoiding the sun during the hottest hours is not enough to prevent heat illness, Dr Arif Vayalil, an internal medicine specialist at Lifeline Hospital, told Gulf News.
No fizzy drinks
"Drinking sodium-enriched water throughout the day is necessary to prevent dehydration and heat illness. Outdoor workers also need to rest in shaded places with the first signs of exhaustion," Dr Vayalil said.
The doctor explained that even the first signs of thirst indicated that an individual was likely to get dehydrated.
"It is therefore necessary for outdoor workers to drink water even before they start feeling thirsty, and every half litre of this water should contain about a teaspoon of salt so that the sodium lost due to sweating is replaced. Fizzy drinks also cause dehydration and should be avoided," Dr Vayalil said.
He added that if workers failed to take proper precautions, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke were possible risks.
"Heat exhaustion is usually indicated by dehydration, dizziness, muscle cramp and nausea, and immediate cooling with fluid and sodium replacement is then required. However, if this goes untreated and the individual fails to take proper precautions, it even could lead to heat stroke and even kidney failure," Dr Vayalil said.
Earlier, officials from the Ministry of Labour had instructed firms to take precautions like providing cold water for drinking, salts and shaded areas for rest.
R.K., a 35-year-old construction worker from India, said he had yesterday received his brochure about how to protect himself from the heat
"I have been working here for three years, and these brochures are a helpful reminder every year about how to avoid falling ill," he told Gulf News while perusing his leaflet in Hindi.
Qasim Mohammad Jamil, head of the guidance department at the ministry, said the ministry had distributed the brochure in five languages this year, including Hindi and Urdu.
He said officials will conduct daily inspections to ensure the midday break rule is adhered to.