As part of its commitment towards the welfare of its workforce and protecting them from injuries in project sites, the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ continues to implement a set of procedures and regulations to ensure the health and safety of its workers, and adheres to permitted working hours in accordance with the ministerial decree (17) of 2021 regarding the necessary precautions to protect workers against heat stress on outdoor work sites during summer. The decree prohibits work between 10:00 am and 3:30 pm starting from 1 June until 15 September of every year, concerning works performed directly under the sun or in outdoor sites with no ventilation.
A safe work environment is one of the most important requirements imposed by Ashghal on its contractors, who are obligated to develop plans to deal with the risk of exposure to heat stress and to avoid its effects, while implementing a number of procedures at work sites. This includes providing several shaded rest areas within the project area, providing all workers with free drinking water at all times, as well as personal protection equipment. Ashghal also obliges contractors to appoint paramedics and supervisors for occupational health and safety on project sites to provide safety instructions and first aid for workers. This is in addition to implementing awareness campaigns for all workers on the dangers of heat stress between June and mid-September of each year.
Ashghal continues to implement its health screening programme for workers in order to detect chronic diseases that may increase the risk of heat stress. The screening is free of charge for workers. During 2020 and the first half of 2021, Ashghal succeeded in performing health screenings on 67,719 workers, or 89.12 % of the entire workforce. Any worker identified with an abnormal result was referred to a hospital that is part of Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health network, where they were retested and given an individualised treatment plan, with medication if needed, and regular follow up. It is worth noting that this proactive health programme is one of very few of its type worldwide that is implemented in an infrastructure programme.
Ashghal is keen on applying health and safety standards across all affairs and departments by implementing inspection campaigns in its projects to observe aspects related to health and precaution on sites, while also launching initiatives intended to raise awareness in this field.
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