Drop in work ban violations in Bahrain

Until last Wednesday, there were only 26 violations, involving 37 workers from 6,315 sites visited by labour inspectors

  
General view of Bahrain World Trade Center in Manama, Bahrain, February 21, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

General view of Bahrain World Trade Center in Manama, Bahrain, February 21, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain - A sharp drop in summer outdoor work ban violations has been noticed in Bahrain so far this year, according to a top official.

Until last Wednesday, there were only 26 violations, involving 37 workers from 6,315 sites visited by labour inspectors.

The GDN reported last month that 22 violations were recorded in the first two weeks of the ban.According to a ministerial order of 2007, it is illegal for companies to employ workers on outdoor sites between midday and 4pm.

The ban, which runs from July 1 to August 31, is aimed at preventing heat-related illness among labourers in the scorching summer.A senior labour official told the GDN that a “combination of factors” including Covid-19 has contributed to the drop in the number of violations.

“The number of violations has gone down and this is due to a combination of factors,” he said.“The order is now over 10 years old and both employees and employers are aware of it.“

They are also aware of its benefits and hence there is a high level of commitment.“Additionally, many sites are partially closed due to Covid-19 and enforcement is easy with fewer people.”

The GDN reported earlier that the pandemic could compound health risks during summer, as Bahrain continues to record high temperatures at an average of 45C.Of the 26 violations, 19 were in the construction sector, four in mining and the remaining in manufacturing; 32 expats and five Bahrainis were involvted.

“The compliance rate is 99.6 per cent and the good sign is that we saw a number of positive compliance of Covid-19 prevention measures,” added the official.

The GDN reported earlier that labour inspectors will be fully clad in personal protection equipment as they visit sites to monitor adherence to the ban.

Meanwhile, the Labour and Social Development Ministry’s summer work ban hotline (32265727) received 59 calls until Wednesday.“These calls included information about violations, general and legal enquiries and requests to reschedule working hours during summer.“We had some violations due to misconception over open area and under direct sun areas.

“The law defines a violation as when a worker is found working under direct sun and open areas and we have seen cases where people were in shade but in an open area – as in the shade is not a structure as required but by means of a building or other nearby facilities.“We consider these as open areas.”

The National Institute for Human Rights also receives ban violations on its toll-free hotline, 80001144, and through WhatsApp on 17111666.

The official added that all violators were referred to the Public Prosecution, who, according to the law will face punishment including up to three months behind bars and fines of between BD500 and BD1,000 for each labourer caught working outdoors.

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