Abu Dhabi: The number of occupational deaths mostly linked to heat-related illnesses among workers, especially during the summer months, was reported to have reached 66 last year, Gulf News has learnt.

Subsequently, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) joined-hands with the Ministry of Labour (MoL) to launch HAAD's first campaign to help prevent heat-related illnesses among workers.

The campaign will stress on effective hydration and the introduction of the thermal work limit (TWL) - a heat stress index that assesses working conditions and management of thermal risk thus determining when it is not safe to work.

Though statistics on occupational accidents in the UAE remain unknown, HAAD admits that falling from heights and heat-related strokes are common among workers who spend up to 12 hours a day outdoors.

"We have conducted a two-year research and pilot project to help reduce injuries among those affected by the heat, as heat-related illnesses are preventable with correct precautions. That's why we launched this campaign and today is our implementation day," Darren Joubert, senior officer of Occupational Health at the HAAD, told Gulf News.

More than 70 officials from various health and safety companies/departments attended a conference on Wednesday titled Management of Work in Hot Environments Programme; branded as safety in the heat programme.

"We will be mailing small and large companies across Abu Dhabi free educational and training materials, worker educational leaflets, a training DVD in different languages to encourage companies to build a healthier environment for their workers. Not to mention distributing 200 coolers among 25 to 30 workers across the emirate with stickers that recommend they drink two litres of water every 2-3 hours," Joubert said.

Are people aware of how to protect themselves from the summer heat? What do you do to prevent such accidents from happening?

Your comments

Last year I suffered from dehydration and weakness during the month of July. *Avoid spicy food. *Avoid eating from restaurants after meal times *Drink water every hour even if you are at home *Carry water and lime juice each time you go outside *Eat juicy fruits like watermelon and orange *If there is a feeling of weakness or giddiness immediately have ORS solution. Prevention is always better than cure. So take care and if possible try to remain indoors between 12 noon to 3 pm/
Naina Nair
Posted: May 21, 2009, 15:20

First and foremost, active awareness campaigns are to be conducted including all levels of workers on potential heat risks and the impacts and how we can protect ourselves from killer heat and humidity. Activity / task plannning's should be done in order to minimize exposure to direct sun. Provision and availablity of cold drinking water at all relevant areas of the work place shall be arranged. Shaded areas are to be provided for the workers. Approved dehydration recovery drinks are recommended to be provided to the work force. The above are some of the basic measures to be considered to protect ourselves from the summer heat.
Gous Sayyad
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 21, 2009, 10:13

There are various measures to cope with heat disorders . some of these may include:- 1) Drink a lot of water and rehydrating solution. 2) Avoid sweet drinks, which induce fluid loss. 3) Take rest intervals. 4) Provide cool rest areas 5) Train personnel in handling heat disorder cases. 6) Inform personnel about contact nos. and action plan in case of emergency.
Nilesh Hatnolkar
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 21, 2009, 08:33

This is an excellent initiative and it should be extended to cover all the remaining 6 emirates as well. But will this initiative continue during Ramadan as well, since it is expected to fall in August and September?
Posted: May 21, 2009, 08:25

To protect yourself from the heat, I have a simple formula better - put sunblock cream on your body. This actually prevents you from having any heat affected disease.
Posted: May 21, 2009, 07:47

I am just wondering what will happen during Ramadan? Ramadan will be during the hottest month in the next 2 years. Do they stop working during the day?
B. Peetz
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: May 21, 2009, 05:16

Good to hear about this campaign, but my question is that is it related to construction industry only where the laborers are falling from heat strokes, what about the staff who is working on ramp at the airport? where the heat is more then the outside like air crafts engine heat plus heat coming from ground too and the porters with staff has to finish the flights without fail no matter whatever severe weather condition are everything is related to time. Thanks
Posted: May 21, 2009, 00:57

Hi, This is very good compaign and very good step fromo Health Department for labour workers. I'm really happy about this compaign, because they are also like our brothers we should protect them. Allah Bless everyone... Thanks
Raheel Sarwar
Posted: May 21, 2009, 00:56