All construction companies in Oman are required to suspend operations at sites between 12:30pm and 3:30pm from June 1 until the end of August.
The order comes from the Ministry of Manpower which recently launched a nationwide campaign educating workers in the construction sector to take a midday break amidst the soaring summer temperatures.
No violations shall be tolerated, an official from the Ministry of Manpower told Gulf News.
“More inspection visits will be paid to constructions sites to make sure that those workers get a break,” the official said, adding that it aims to ensure a safe and healthy environment for workers and would increase productivity while reduce on-site accidents.
Violators shall be slapped of not less than 100 rials and not exceeding 500 rials and jail terms of no more than one year, citing article 118 of the Omani Labour Law.
“I, like any other worker, will get a break as it is very hard for us to work in such hot weather”, said Rafeeq Mahboob who works in a Muscat construction site. He said a colleague died last summer after extended sun exposure.
Ahmad Al Sa’adi, a labour activist, called on the Ministry of Manpower to intensify inspections outside the capital as many violations occur in the outskirts of Muscat. He claimed that many employers violate the midday break while forcing workers to stay in the field while they sit in their air-conditioned premises.
In 2014, the Ministry fined 25 companies for such violations.
Directorate General of Meteorology staff said temperatures in some areas of Oman may reach 47 degrees Celsius especially during the month of Ramadan.
The midday break for construction site workers kicked off in 2008 upon a ministerial decision.