KUWAIT: A combination of photos taken during the Public Authority for Manpower's inspection team's tour at construction sites in Mutlaa yesterday. - Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Three days before the end of a summer ban on outdoor work, the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has conducted surprise inspections at construction sites in Mutlaa yesterday, fining several companies for violations. The government of Kuwait forbids work outdoors during the heat of summer; every day from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm during the period between June 1 and August 31. Every year however, violations happen where workers and contractors ignore the ban to continue working during those hours. In response, PAM leads inspection campaigns to fine violations.

Yesterday's inspection was led by Mansour Al-Mutairi, head of the 2021 inspection campaign, which is aimed at protecting workers from extreme heat and excessive work during noon time. The surprise inspection yesterday was the last in a series of inspections that were conducted by PAM throughout the summer. The authority had announced it would conduct surprise inspection tours on different locations to monitor any violations and take legal action against violators if necessary.

Speaking to Kuwait Times at the site, Hamad Al-Mekhyel, Head for the Occupational Safety Department at the Public Authority for Manpower, Jahra Governorate, admitted there are still many private contractors and companies who do not adhere to the government's strict regulations on outdoor ban. "We are here to check compliance and whether contractors are following our strict guidelines with regards to work ban from 11am to 4pm," he said. "It's sad to say that here on this site, we still found many workers in violation of the work ban. Contractors will be fined KD100 for each worker caught on the site, and the fine will be multiplied by the number of violations committed."

"We have been conducting these inspections since June 1st," he said. "We want to see the regulations followed strictly because we want everyone's safety and cooperation, especially with regards to workers' exposure to excessive heat." Mekhyel reiterated that his teams were conducting raids 'since day one'. "We have been conducting inspections every week," he indicated. "This surprise visit to Mutlaa is the last one in the series of several raids conducted from day one. Since June, we have been conducting raids to ensure that companies and employers are not forcing anyone to work outdoor," he added.

According to Al-Mekhyel, PAM has inspected 2,381 sites all over Kuwait from June 1 to August 19, 2021, and found a total number of 1,760 workers in violation of the ban. On the other hand, they also found 1,045 companies who violated the work ban for the first time, and they were given tickets for violation not following government ban. Meanwhile, the number of companies that followed the rules after re-inspection stood at 844 while there were two sites which reportedly repeated violations when inspectors revisited the sites again. PAM has received 110 complaints from the public reporting violations to the 11am-4pm outdoor working ban.