Bahrain clamps down on worker exploitation

Inspections of worksites, labour camps and companies to increase

Workers must be given access to the necessary safety equipment.
Workers must be given access to the necessary safety equipment.

Bahrain is to increase inspections of worksites, labour camps and companies as it seeks to ensure workers are not exploited.

The move follows a ministerial decree issued by Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan to ensure employers take all measures to protect their workers from hazards, Gulf Daily News reports.

“It was optional before for companies to follow safety regulations for their staff, but now with the new decree it is mandatory for the private and public sector to adhere to these rules,” said Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Dossary.

The decree outlines a range of protective measures including workers’ access to safety equipment and transportation in air-conditioned vehicles to protect them from heat stroke during summer and help increase their productivity.

“Under the new rules, which are now in effect, workers should be housed in safe accommodation and our labour inspectors will be visiting camps across the country to monitor any violations,” said Al Dossary.

“Last year, our inspectors conducted around 2,000 visits to labour camps and this year, we intend to cover more areas.”

Al Dossary said a team of around 40 labour inspectors had already started conducting on-the-spot visits and said companies will initially be given warnings.

“Most of the companies rectify their situation and make the necessary changes once our inspectors warn them and if they don't then action is taken," he said.

However, the official said the biggest challenge facing Bahrain's authorities continued to be free visa workers, who live in anonymity.

“They risk their lives by staying in unsafe buildings and our challenge is to deal with this set of workers to ensure they do not get injured in any accidents,” he said.

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