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Heat stress 'a major worry for Mena workers'


With the infrastructure spend in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region set to top $280 billion by 2018, heat stress remains a major concern for the UAE and the surrounding region, said industry experts.

The Middle East's construction market is set to grow at a faster pace than any other region in the world in 2017 according to a recent report by BMI Research.

Governments are pouring investment into infrastructure across the Mena region. All this growth means private and government organizations will need to ensure productivity remains high through out the summer months to reach development demands, stated experts.

In order to keep staff healthy and output high, industry leaders must take small but important steps to keep the construction force healthy, they added.

Last month, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a mandatory midday break for labourers during the summer months, which started on June 15 and will end on September 15.

“Typically during the summer months, productivity has been reported to decrease as a result of heat,” remarked Thomas Morrison, the marketing director at Portacool, a manufacturing leader in the portable evaporative cooling industry.

"To reduce health risks and productivity losses from excessive heat, we recommend keeping outdoor or open work environments cool and comfortable with evaporative coolers, such as Portacool portable evaporative coolers," stated Morrison.

Portacool evaporative coolers, he stated, are designed for spot cooling applications, giving temporary relief where air conditioning might not be practical.

Morrisson stressed the importance of interventions to ensure workers operating during the extreme heat are well considered and looked after.

Portacool, a major provider of a wide range of products from industrial to residential applications, is working with contractors in the region to raise awareness about the dangers of heat stress.

The products are portable and work off a standard electrical plug, making accessibility easy in hard-to-cool spaces or outdoors, he added.

According to Morrison, this is not just exclusive to laborers and businesses that operate factories; manufacturers and other industrial facilities must also factor in heat-stress mitigation when designing and constructing workspaces.

"During the summer, regular hydration, lightweight clothing and work patterns that avoid the hottest part of the day are also advised to keep workers safe," he noted.

US-based Portacool will be a fundamental supplier for the development of cooling stations for labourers on various construction sites.

These cooling stations are designed specifically for workers to withstand the soaring temperatures keeping them safe and productive, he added.-TradeArbia News Service

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