RIYADH — The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) started imposing a ban on work under the sun from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a period of three months effective from Wednesday, June 15. The ban, which will cover all private sector companies and establishments, will continue until Sept. 15, 2022.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Saad Al-Hammad, spokesman of the ministry, said that penalty amounting to SR3,000 would be imposed on the employer in the event of violating the regulations with regard to each worker.

The amount of fines will be multiplied with the number of workers involved in the violation of the midday work ban, he said. The penalties also include shutting down the establishment for a period not exceeding 30 days, or closing it permanently, or imposing both fine and closure of the establishment.

This is in line with a decision of Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Eng. Ahmed Al-Rajhi that aims to preserve the safety and health of workers in the private sector by banning their work in the open under direct sunlight.

The ministerial decision compels private sector enterprises to provide their workers a healthy and safe work environment and spare them from any risks and harm caused by the effects of exposure to sunlight and heat stress.

According to the spokesman, a number of governorates in some provinces of the Kingdom are exempted from the midday work ban decision. This is in view of the variations in temperature as it drops in some governorates to levels that do not require a work ban in the designated midday hours.

Al-Hammad said that the decision comes within the framework of the ministry’s keenness to preserve the safety and health of workers in the private sector, and its commitment to provide a healthy and safe work environment.

Referring to the purpose of this decision, Al-Hammad said that the ministry attaches great importance to the safety and health of workers from the dangers of working under the sun. ”The ministry launched a special procedural guide for occupational safety and health to prevent the effects of exposure to sunlight and heat stress,” he said.

Regarding the fines imposed on those who violate the decision, the ministry spokesman said that Article 6 of the table of violations and the corresponding penalties stipulates that fines will be imposed on the employer if he employs the worker under open sunlight, or in bad climatic conditions without taking the necessary precautions in violation of the times and periods specified in the ministerial decision.

Replying to queries on how does the ministry deal with the diversity of temperatures existing in various regions of the Kingdom, Al-Hammad stated that the decision excludes a number of governorates in some regions of the Kingdom.

The ministry is constantly coordinating with the emirates of the regions about the need to implement the decision in those regions and their affiliated governorates according to climatic conditions and temperatures prevailing in those regions during the midday work ban period, he added.

According to a monitoring carried out by Okaz/Saudi Gazette earlier, the number of beneficiaries of the decision on the noon work ban is about 2.74 million male and female workers, mainly in the contracting sector.

The midday work ban decision excludes workers in the oil and gas companies, as well as emergency maintenance workers, provided necessary measures are taken to protect them from the harms of direct sunlight.

The ministry called upon employers to organize work hours and implement what is stipulated in this decision, as the ministry strives to provide a work environment that is safe from various occupational hazards.

It urged all to notify about any violation of the work ban decision via the ministry’s customer service phone number 199911.

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