High temperatures are causing problems for labourers and construction workers.

Sun-stroke, dehydration, sun burn, blisters and heat-exhaustion are just some of the problems construction workers suffer from while working under the sun.

Dr Mohammed Kazem at Fujairah Hospital said hospitals' emergency departments usually receive many workers suffering from sun-strokes caused by their neglect of the most basic precautions when working in the open, especially under the sun.

"We have noticed several skin problems such as red spots and rashes, and even in some cases, blisters, which in the cool environment caused by air-conditioning, causes itching and scratching," Dr Kazem said.

A large numbers of Indian and Pakistani workers, who are normally used to excessive sunshine and heat and working outside without facing any difficulties, are now very uncomfortable with temperatures hovering around 42 degrees Celsius at mid-day.

Construction companies are not ignoring these problems and are doing the best to protect their workers. By necessity, however, they are unable to reduce the number of working hours.

A senior official of a Fujairah-based construction company, said: "Although we are unable to reduce the number of working hours each day, due to contract schedules, we change the time-table slightly to give our men a three-hour lunch break, when the sun is the hottest."

He pointed out that they work from 5.30 am to mid-day, and then from 3pm to 7pm. And when temperatures exceed 40 degrees, work stops until the temperature goes down.

Another civil engineer working for the Civil Construction Contracting Company in Fuja-irah, explained the precautions.

"Labourers are supplied with salt tablets during their shifts to try and compensate for the loss of body salts they experience due to excessive sweating.

"Some will not take the tablets, so we prefer to give them a drink of yogurt and water, to which salt has been added. This drink is preferred by most of them," said the civil engineer.

He said workers who cover their heads while in the sun have less problems, but as safety helmets are very hot to wear and cause disorientation, most workers prefer to cover their heads with cloth.

Mohammed Shabeer, a Paki-stani construction worker, said: "I always try to avoid exposing myself to the sun too much at work, but sometimes I have to stand for long periods mixing cement or even sieving sand – and on those occasions I wear a light cloth cap."

Doctors advise those working outdoors during summer to increase their intake of salt, drink greater quantities of liquids and juices and keep wearing helmets to prevent sun-strokes.