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United Nations Call for Greater Heat Protection of the Workers in Qatar

23 October 2019

The United Nations Organisation has asked the government of Qatar to look over the safety measures of the open field workers against the extreme heat and humid condition. Qatar is one of the gulf countries bordering the Persian Gulf. Due to its location, the country faces an extremely hot and humid climate. The country is supposed to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup and so preparations are in full swing. Since the people of the gulf countries are generally wealthy due to the large oil fields, labourers are not easily available. So, people from poorer countries like Egypt, India, Bangladesh, go to these countries to work as labourers. They are made to work under extreme heat conditions which have been responsible in taking their lives quite many times.

UN has brought up the concern for safety measures and changed working hours for these labourers.

An unfortunate incident had taken place in the World Athletic Championship in Doha, where women marathon runners had collapsed due to extreme humidity that too at midnight.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Qatar’s ministry of labour have praised the endeavours made by the government for 4000 workers of the World Cup stadium project. But they have also urged other employers to take preventive measures in due course of time.

labours in qatar

Houtan Homayounpour, the head of UN agency's Qatar project office has said, “We have a scientific basis on which to propose adjustments to the prohibited working hours during summer, and it is clear that heat stress mitigation plans must recognise the right and enhance the ability of workers to self pace.”

The present law prohibits working it exposed sites from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm in the afternoon during summer months. Researchers from the University of Thessaly have come up with a statement which states, "The research examined different strategies for mitigating heat strain, focusing on hydration, work-rest ratios and clothing."

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The workers of the World Cup stadium mitigated through frequent breaks, accessing places with shades and also drinking plenty of water. The researchers suggested the companies in Qatar to come up with heat stress alleviation plans and regular health check up and also regulate the working hours during summer.

“The sudden and unexpected deaths of often young and healthy migrant workers in Qatar have gone uninvestigated by Qatari authorities, in apparent disregard for workers’ lives,” reported Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at HRW. She also said, “Qatar cannot claim to uphold migrant workers’ rights as long as it ignores urgent and repeated calls for lifesaving reforms that protect workers from the heat.”

In defence, Sheikh Jassim bin Mansour Al-Thani, a government spokesman said, “Qatar has worked relentlessly for years, to ensure the well being and safety to all workers and suggesting otherwise is false and misleading.”

Workers from the developing countries go to the middle east countries to work as labourers, but day by day with the rise of temperature, survival of these workers have been difficult. Qatar should take measures to change the technology of building towers so that less energy is consumed to keep these air conditioned.

Davies Krish

With a background in journalism and news reporting, Davies enjoys finding surprises and unusual sights in some of Middle East's most well-traveled destinations.

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