Word on the street: Workplace safety
Public opinion on the streets of Muscat
The three-month midday break begins from June 1. Do you think the month of May should also be included as temperatures often soar over 40°C?
Hamad al Amri
Yes, midday break should include the month of May as well. Companies should take care of their employees and be considerate towards them. Asking workers to work in extreme heat will neither be beneficial to companies nor employees.
Nurse Workers should avoid working under direct heat throughout the year and not just in summer. Midday breaks should be made mandatory for outdoor workers throughout the year. This will make workers more productive.
Adeel Safdar Chohan
Yes, midday break should be extended to include May, as the temperature sometimes shoots during this month. I don’t think all companies even follow this rule. Authorities should conduct inspections regularly for violations especially in the interiors and desert areas.
The midday break rule should ideally be flexible enough to include other months when temperature soars. We also witness temperatures above 45°C or 46°C in May at times. Many people fall ill due to heat in May also.
IT sector employee
It is important to include the month of May in the midday break rule for construction workers and those working at outdoor sites. The months of June, July and August are definitely hot, but May is not too pleasant either.
Private sector employee With temperatures hovering between 44°C and 45°C in May, people working outdoors often fall ill and suffer from heat exhaustion. So, it is surely a great idea to include May in midday break.
Do you think there should be stricter laws and checks on safety at outdoor work sites?
Not many companies flout the midday break rule for fear of penalties. However, there are a few who make workers work during the stipulated break when they have to meet deadlines. The authorities should come up with some way through which this practice can be stopped. Companies should understand that only a healthy worker will be productive.
There should be stricter laws to govern companies employing workers in the construction sector. Workers are the backbone of any project and they should be provided a place to rest and eat. They should also be given drinking water and washroom facility on the site. Though the ministry has brought about the midday break rule it needs to be more stringent.
Jayanti Prava Tripathy
The Ministry of Manpower should set up hotlines to help workers report any exploitation at workplace. Their identity should not be disclosed. Stricter laws will make a difference if they are enforced well.
Al Motasam al Nadabi
Private sector employee
I’m not aware about the number of checks carried out by the authorities to monitor if companies are following the rules. I’m also not sure whether a hotline exists for workers where they can register their complaints. If there is one, we could all do our bit to help the authorities by reporting about companies violating safety rules.
Head of marketing
I think the laws are fair. Enforcement of the existing laws is key. More fines should be imposed. It would be a good idea to give a part of the fine to the workers.
Mazin Fareed al Zadjali
The authorities have tackled this issue head-on. Compared to a few years ago, the condition of workers has improved due to the awareness campaigns conducted. As with most things, there is still room for improvement. Maybe a name-and-shame campaign will prevent companies from disregarding the rights and safety of workers.
Do you think mandatory comprehensive health insurance will help workers and enhance workplace safety?
Dr John Philips Mathew
Health insurance should be made compulsory to help improve the condition of workers. It will also enhance workplace safety. A comprehensive health insurance plan is inevitable, considering the high cost of healthcare today.
It will definitely be a boost. Many workers are left to fend for themselves when they meet with an accident at workplace. A mandatory health insurance will boost the confidence of these workers.
Mandatory health insurance will give more power to workers. It will help improve a worker’s health condition as many avoid seeking medical assistance due to shortage of money. This will also help improve their productivity at work.
Mandatory health insurance will be a blessing for all but more so for construction workers and those employed in hazardous industries. It will be of great help to those employed in low-paying jobs who are often not protected by any health cover.
Ahmed al Asaker
Health insurance will be of great help to the working class. But, we should deliberate on the effects it may have on the business fraternity before being made into a law. Workplace safety needs proper management which smaller companies often lack.
Syed Moneeb Omar
Health insurance will help improve workers’ condition but how will it enhance workplace safety? Workplace safety can be ensured only when safety rules are strictly adhered to. This will reduce accidents and so fewer people would have to seek medical assistance for injuries and other work-related ailments.