In Kuwait we are blessed to have good weather for several months even though the Kuwaiti summer can be unforgiving with temperatures reaching over 50 C degrees, and therefore the question remains on the legalities of working in the heat. I for one cannot bare to stand more than a few minutes outside, without feeling like my skin is burning and that an AC or shaded area is vital for my survival; both blessings that some workers do not have in Kuwait. Many workers may not have to work in the heat, but may have to walk to work, or get a bus or have no access to air-conditioning. Today, I will be discussing a few laws related to working conditions.
No air conditioning
Question: There is no air conditioning at our office, and I would like to know if it is legal to work in such environments.
Attorney Fajer: There are no specific regulations on the workspace environment, although the law does mention that the environment has to be safe. Moving forward though, I think it is important for the Kuwaiti government to have more laws and bylaws in place that discuss the working environment of employees in Kuwait with guidelines on the heat in the country, whether it is for a regular office space, drivers, factory employees or doctors. As of now, there are only bylaws that discuss working outdoors from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm from June 1st until end of August.
Working 24 hours
Question: We are construction workers and we are behind schedule with the contractors, and therefore we are now working 24 hours throughout the day. I have afternoon shifts on some days, and it would be extremely hot outside. I do not think I can keep working like this.
Attorney Fajer: It is illegal for you to be working in the heat outdoors from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm from June 1st until end of August, and the company can be violated and ordered to pay a KD 200 fine per employee. You would need to put a complaint against your employer in this regard.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed