Qatar urges preventive measures against heat stress
Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is pushing for the implementation of preventive measures against heat stress as the meteorology department is forecasting a sharp rise in temperature, expecting it to reach 47 degrees.
With summer timings for outdoor workers in Qatar starting in more than one month, the SCH has started circulating guidelines on heat stress to companies.
“Heat stress and falling from heights are the two major occupational health risks facing workers in Qatar,” Wasif Alam, consultant physician and acting head of Occupational Health Department, said. “We have given the top priority to these two issues in our activities aimed to promote occupational health and safety. The guidelines on heat stress are part of this strategy. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Labour to ensure that the companies abide by the new guidelines,” he told Qatari daily The Peninsula.
According to the guidelines, responsibilities of the employers include providing sufficient drinking water to outdoor workers, monitoring the daily heat index and providing shades where needed. Employers are also required to conduct awareness programmes targeting workers on signs and symptoms of heat stress.
Workers have been advised to be familiar with the company’s policy and procedures regarding heat stress, drink enough water during work, abstain from coffee, cola drinks and tea and follow personal hygiene and proper diet and rest. They should report early signs and symptoms of heat stress to the supervisors.
According to a weather forecaster, the extreme weather condition phenomenon is an extension of the heat wave caused by low pressure over India that has affected the Gulf region. The hot southwesterly winds blowing from Saudi Arabia would cause the temperature to rise.
“Sudden rise in the temperature characterises the beginning of summer in Qatar. Such heat spells are common during this period and more can be expected in the days to come,” the forecaster said.