Middle East

Saudi Arabia law to protect outdoor workers from sun

Construction workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Oct 2013 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Those who work outdoors in Saudi Arabia are vulnerable to extreme summer temperatures

New health and safety regulations to protect outdoor workers from the sun have come into effect in Saudi Arabia.

From now until mid-September, labourers are banned from working outside between noon and 15:00.

The Saudi government says the regulations show its concern for workers' well-being and safety.

Oil, gas and emergency maintenance workers are exempt from the new rule, provided that measures are taken to help protect them from the sun.

Companies that flout the ban face heavy fines or even closure.

In a statement, the Saudi ministry of labour said: "The ministry is working hard in providing a secure work environment that is safe from all occupational hazards."

However, some workers quoted by Saudi media cast doubt on whether the rule would be enforced. Others feared their wages would be cut if their hours were reduced.

Correction 4 July 2014: An earlier reference to Qatar's policy on working outdoors was incorrect and has been removed.

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