Authorities Urge Adherence to '20% Rule' During Summer

Doha, Qatar: MoPH and MoL Issue Summer Safety Guidelines to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Ministry of Labour (MoL) have jointly issued a set of safety measures and precautions to protect individuals during the summer months and prevent heat-related illnesses.

A key focus is on ensuring that new and returning workers build tolerance to heat (acclimatize) and take frequent breaks. In their social media awareness campaign, the MoPH and MoL emphasized the importance of following the “20% rule.” This rule advises that on the first day of work, no more than 20% of the shift’s duration should be at full intensity in the heat. The duration at full intensity should then be increased by no more than 20% each day until workers are accustomed to working in the heat.

Acclimatization is the process by which the body gradually adapts to higher levels of heat stress. New workers or those not used to warm environments need time for their bodies to adjust to hot conditions.

The Qatar Meteorology Department (QMD) has forecast daytime temperatures to range between 37°C and 43°C, classifying today and tomorrow as having hot to very hot conditions.

As part of the awareness campaign, the Ministries have highlighted several measures to prevent heat illness at work. They urge everyone to prioritize health and safety by learning essential first aid for heat illness and warn that both outdoor and indoor heat exposure can be dangerous.

The campaign also shares first aid steps and signs of a medical emergency for heat illness. Signs of a medical emergency include abnormal thinking or behavior, slurred speech, seizures, and loss of consciousness. In such cases, individuals are advised to call 999 immediately, cool the affected person with water or ice, and stay with them until help arrives.

For less severe symptoms such as headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, heavy sweating, hot dry skin, elevated body temperature, thirst, or decreased urine output, the Ministries advise giving the person water to drink, removing unnecessary clothing, moving to a cooler area, cooling with water, ice, or a fan, not leaving the person alone, and seeking medical care if needed.