Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has organized a workshop on safety in heat targeted employees of food facilities in the emirate, at its main headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The workshop aimed to raise awareness about taking the necessary measures during heat waves. It also explained Safety in Heat Program launched by Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHAD). The program aims to raise awareness about procedures that must be implemented for the heat stress management program by employers and supervisors in order to protect workers from the summer heat.
The program comes in accordance with the law, issued by Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, which states employers must not allow workers to perform any outdoor activities from 12:30pm until 3:00pm. This law will be applied for three months (from June 15 to September 15) each year.
The workshop provided needed information to food facilities' employers that operate within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and have workers in places with high temperatures- whether exposed to the sunlight directly or in an open space exposed to hot weather- and thermal processes that take place within the work site, such as furnace or oven, and other activities that are characterized by high temperature. It also identified the precautions and actions needed to combat and prevent cases of heat related illness in the workplace.
ADFCA's workshop addressed the risks of workers' exposure to direct sunlight in the summer, as they may be exposed to many occupational illnesses and injuries, most notably heat stress. This stress can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, fainting, cramps and rashes. High temperatures can also lead to injuries among workers through sweating hands and dizziness. Besides, the workers who are most exposed to heat stress are labourers working outdoors, such as livestock breeders and agricultural workers.
It is worth to emphasize that the prevention of heat stress is very important and all employers are required to provide education and training for their employees to help them understand the effects of heat stress and how to prevent it. Meanwhile, employers must take appropriate action to protect workers from heat stress, such as providing rest periods in shaded places and a permanent supply of drinking water.
The workshop set several recommendations, such as setting schedule of maintenance and repair work in the hot areas in the coldest times, performing thermal works in the cooler part of the day, as well as enabling labourers to adapt to high temperatures by exposing them for progressively longer periods to hot workplaces.
The recommendations also included reducing the physical demands of employees, assigning extra employees for physically demanding jobs, providing cool water or liquids to employees, as well as avoiding drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar, providing shaded areas for use during break periods and other measures necessary to maintain the safety of workers.