Dubai: A construction worker died due to heat stroke and several others were admitted to hospital in the weeks before the mid-day break rule went into effect, doctors said.

The worker had earlier complained of feeling unwell. When his friends checked on him, he was found unconscious. He was rushed to Jebel Ali Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Construction workers have been given time off between 12.30pm to 3pm from July 1.

The Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre received 82 heat related cases last month, surprisingly most of whom were labourers working indoors.

"Working in the shade was no protection against heat problems without adequate ventilation or air-conditioning," said Dr Viktor Mikhaeel Butros, senior specialist registrar at the Centre.

"If people are continuously exposed to heat, they will continue to sweat and lose fluids," he added.

The Centre is preparing for more cases in late July and August, increasing the number of beds available in various rooms and hallways, and converting specialised rooms into treatment rooms.


The Jebel Ali Hospital reported the death of the worker due to heat problems two weeks ago. The hospital has been receiving heat-related cases, mostly affecting labourers, due to its proximity to many major construction projects on the outskirts of Dubai.

"The construction worker was unconscious and in cardiac arrest when he arrived at the hospital," said Dr Suresh Menon, specialist physician in Internal Medicine at the hospital.

"He had been working since morning and at about 11:30 am he complained to his friend that he did not feel well. When they checked on him at about 3pm, they found him unconscious," he added. "His death was heat-related," he said.

Dr. Menon warned the public to be aware of heat problems, symptoms and preventive methods. Symptoms include disorientation, dehydration, elevated body temperature, excessive sweating, fatigue, nausea and body cramps.

He said inactivity and working in the shade were no guarantee against heat-related problems. "This shows that just because they were in the shade, does not mean they are not in danger. The sun is not necessarily the problem; the problem is the temperature itself."

Your comments

A life is something very precious so the government needs to be alert in implementing the mid-day break rule.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 13:07

Heat stress is a grave problem during peak summer. This is an issue of human rights.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 12:51

What!!!??? This rule JUST went into effect??? I left the UAE almost two years ago and I thought it was effective around the time I left. What a shame that human life isn't regarded the same as high rise buildings and billion dollar projects.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 12:31

It?s inhumane to ask construction workers to work during peak season. When we cannot stand more than two minutes in the scorching heat, why should we ask others to? I would request the ministry finds a solution where we can stop the construction work for a few months in the country due to heat.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 12:30

The plight of these workers is really sad. All this suffering and at the end of the day, their salaries are kept pending for several months.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 11:47

Why was the rule regarding the mid-day break for construction workers implemented so late? The higher authorities or for that matter every person who lives in the UAE knows very well that summer is at its peak during June, July and August. So this rule should be implemented automatically every time during these months. It's very sad that every year these labourers need to wait to get the sanction regarding the mid-day breaks.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 11:46

I would like to suggest the concerned authorities take whatever measures are necessary immediately as these workers are building Dubai?s future at a very low cost. Proper rest rooms, water supply etc.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 09:17

The companies violating the ministerial rules must be immediately punished.
Posted: July 07, 2007, 09:14