Heat Stress Remains a Major Challenge for Workers in Qatar and the Middle East

Heat Stress Remains a Major Challenge for Workers in Qatar and the Middle East

In Clients

JGC Corporation (JGC) participated in the 8th International Petroleum Technical Conference (IPTC), the platform for international standards related to the exploration, development, production, transportation and processing of oil and natural gas, which was held on December 10-12, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. JGC’s presentation centred around innovative risk management on a major project in the Middle East, with heat stress management being quoted as one of the areas which significantly contributed to the success of the overall project.

Heat stress remains one of the top health concerns in the Middle East, particularly in Qatar, where temperatures can soar in the summer months. Heat related illness can severely impact worker welfare, both in terms of work related activities and their health, especially for workers that are exposed to extreme outdoor working environments.

JGC highlighted in their presentation that the heat stress portion of the programme focused on implementing a number of innovative heat stress management programme areas, including: fluid replacement, mandatory refresher training for all workers, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and control of high risk activities such as confined space entry. The programme also included acclimatisation for the onsite workers, food and drinks supplements, heat stress monitors along with ongoing weekly management review meetings. The PPE cooling apparel, supplied by the world’s leading supplier of cooling apparel TechNiche Middle East, was provided to more 32,000 onsite workers who worked on the project during its peak.

As part of PPE, TechNiche supplied JGC with HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling crown and neck shades; HyperKewl Evaporative Wrist Bands; HyperKewl Evaporative Sports Jackets; as well as TechKewl Phase Change Cooling Vests for the construction workers. TechNiche’s products are committed to keeping personal comfortable in high temperatures, increasing productivity, and reducing the risk of heat stroke, injury or fatalities.

TechNiche Middle East’s General Manager, Mr. Paul Gilligan, said “The core of our company is about worker welfare and safety on job sites. TechNiche’s cooling apparel and innovative cooling technology enhances thermal comfort as it regulates the outside temperature which in turn improves performance and productivity for the workers onsite. We hope that more companies in Qatar and in the GCC will follow in JGC’s footsteps and actively address heat stress and worker welfare in their day-to-day operations.”

JGC reported that the heat stress management programme attributed to a 50% reduction in heat illness frequency, and that there were no serious illnesses or injuries reported from 2013-2014. Both JGC and TechNiche remain dedicated to worker welfare and continue to combat heat stress because of the detrimental damage that it can cause to workers resulting in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes.