Qatar increases heat protection measures for workers

Qatar increases heat safeguards for workers as World Cup approaches
2 min read
28 May, 2021
Doha has extended the window in which work is not allowed to be done outdoors by two hours, which will apply for several additional weeks each year.
The new measures came into force on Wednesday [Gavin Hellier/Getty]

Workers in Qatar have been given improved safeguards against the heat, drawing praise from a senior trade union figure.

The measures were revealed on Wednesday and came into force instantly, according to the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO).

Notably, Doha has extended the window in which work is not allowed to be done outdoors by two hours.

This provision now also applies for several additional weeks in a given year.

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Prior to the new safeguards, the prohibition was only in effect from 15 June to 31 August. It now applies from 1 June to 15 September.

Companies are also required to cease operations if the temperature where they are working goes above 32.1C.

Max Tuñón of the ILO's Doha project office said: "The new Ministerial Decision is an example of evidence-based policy-making, drawing on field research on the environmental conditions and the effectiveness of different mitigation strategies".

International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharron Barrow also praised the move.

"We welcome this new legislation and commend the Government of Qatar for its continued efforts to protect workers' health and safety at work," Barrow said in a statement.

The new measures come as Doha's prepares to hold the World Cup next year.

Football's biggest event heads to the Gulf nation amid criticism of workers' rights, though several reforms have been put in place.

In March, the country implemented a minimum wage equivalent to around $275 per month.

The ILO said the day prior: "Qatar is the first country in the region to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is part of a series of historical reforms of the country's labour laws".

"More than 400,000 workers or 20 percent of the private sector will benefit directly."