WORK FATIGUE POLICY
HEAT STRESS PREVENTION PROCEDURE
ITC management recognizes and accepts the duty of care they owe to their
employees and subcontract personnel. They are also aware that much of their
activities are carried out in a hostile climatic environment often over protracted
periods. The objective of this procedure is to state the worker fatigue policy of ITC
and to detail the measures taken to manage and minimise risks that may give rise
to heat stress.
Work Fatigue Policy
Purpose of this POLICY
To manage employee work hours to minimise the potential for injury through work
fatigue, consistent with our aim of achieving a zero safety incident site.
Scope of the document
This applies to all ITC employees & subcontractors.
It is recognised that where an employee works long hours, they may be subjected
to excessive physical demands liable to increase the risk of injury. In addition, their
performance may be impaired by fatigue, reducing efficiency and safety
The provision of a safe workplace and safe system of work are obligations upon the
company, both legal and moral. It is also the obligation of the employee to work
responsibly, including taking positive steps to avoid dangerous situations from
developing that could lead to accidents.
Normal Hours of Work
The normal hours of work will be up to 12 hours per day with a maximum of 16 hours
allowed in special circumstances, where there is a specific requirement.
All employees working on a roster must have a minimum of 10 hours rest between
Only in life threatening circumstances and with the relevant Department
Manager’s approval will employees be permitted to work in excess of the 16 hours
In these circumstances, employees must be transported to their place of residence
at the end of the period of work and will not be allowed back on site for a
minimum of 12 hours after completing their shift.
Consecutive Work Days
The maximum number of hours worked in any 7 day period shall not exceed 84
hours. Further to this, the number of hours worked in any consecutive 14 days
period shall not exceed 168 hours.
Supervisors and employee should be aware that fatigue could lead to unsafe
working conditions. However, fatigue can occur not only as a result of long working
hours, but occurs during the normal work cycle. For example, people accustomed
to working day shift, when temporarily transferred to nightshifts, will experience
symptoms of tiredness between the hours of 2.00 and 6.00 a.m. It is also common
for people to feel sleepy between 2.00 and 4.00 p. after taking a midday meal.
Critical operations should, so far as practicable, be planned outside of these hours.
Regular rest breaks should be taken throughout the shift, and 15 minutes taken after
two hours of work would be reasonable, depending on the exigencies of the work.
For example, a crane driver should have a break immediately before commencing
critical lift activities.
Outdoor activities and operations conducted in hot weather, especially those that
require workers to wear semi-permeable or impermeable protective clothing, are
likely to cause thermal stress among exposed workers. Consequently, prevention of
thermal stress is an important consideration for ITC and its Subcontractors working in
UAE, particularly during the summer months when temperatures are commonly
above 45* C and humidity reaching 90%.
Refer to table given as appendix 1 for level of risk associated with varying
temperature and humidity, it will be evident from this table that for the majority of
the time the ambient temperature/humidity prevailing in UAE places the worker in
the category of Extreme Caution, Danger or Extreme danger. This risk must be
carefully and diligently managed.
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
The ITC Project Manager holds the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that this
procedure is effectively communicated to, and implemented by, all ITC and
Subcontractor employees. The ITC Project Manager will be responsible for ensuring
1. This procedure is effectively implemented to prevent the workforce from
needless exposure to extreme temperature conditions resulting thermal
stress related illnesses or injuries.
2. Adequate resources are provided to monitor the effectiveness of this
3. Suitable and adequate welfare (including drinking water) and rest facilities
are provided in work areas.
4. Suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided including
individual personal 1ltr water flask.
5. All construction activities requiring a person to be exposed to extreme
temperatures are properly planned, coordinated and executed.
6. Arrangements are in place with local clinics / hospitals for the immediate
treatment of potential thermal stress victims.
Senior Project HSE Officer
The responsibilities of the ITC HSE Officer will include, but not be limited to the
1. Implementing and maintaining the procedure throughout the duration of the
2. Ensuring that this procedure is effectively implemented and diligently observed
by all employees and subcontractors.
3. Ensure each employee is in position of and is using their individual personal 1ltr
4. A proper work-rest regime has been planned and is being executed.
5. Creating awareness on thermal stress related illnesses and injuries through
training, notice boards and distribution of information leaflets.
TYPES & CAUSES OF THERMAL STRESS ILLNESSES / INJURIES
5.1 It is important that all employees are adequately trained to enable them to
understand and recognize the various types and causes of thermal stress
related illnesses / injuries.
This will assist employees in preventing the occurrence of such illnesses /
injuries and will enable them to provide immediate treatment to persons
displaying the symptoms of thermal stress.
5.1 Types of Thermal Stress illnesses / injuries
5.1.1 Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to high
temperatures, in which
people experience high fever, headaches, hot dry skin and physical
exhaustion. In extreme causes, a sufferer may physically collapse and into a
When a person is assessed to have suffered from heat stroke, emergency
medical treatment must be immediately sought.
• Extremely high body temperature.
• Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid and strong pulse.
• Throbbing headache.
• Immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
• Move the person to a cool and shady area. Do not leave the person
• Cool the person rapidly with running water, cold compresses and / or
• Provide cool water if they are alert. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
• If the person is unconscious, do not give them water.
• Continue to cool their body temperature until medical assistance arrives
and they can be taken to medical facility for further cooling and
monitoring of body temperature and functions.
Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by excessive fluid loss due to
sweating, resulting in the depletion of body fluid volume, which creates an
imbalance of the electrolytes in the body.
• Heavy sweating.
• Paleness of Skin. Skin may be cool and moist.
• Muscle cramps.
• Weakness. Pulse rate may be fast but weak. Breathing may be fast but Shallow.
• Nausea or vomiting.
• Immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
• Move the worker suffering from heat exhaustion to a cool and shady
area. Do not leave the person alone.
• Cool the person rapidly with running water, cold compresses and/or
rapid fanning, if possible.
• Provide cool drinking water, or electrolyte / ion replacement drinks, if
they are alert. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
• Remove extra clothing when necessary and continue to cool their body
temperature until medical assistance arrives.
Heat cramps are painful spasms of the muscles generally thought to be
caused by an imbalance of electrolytes (e.g. essential minerals, such as
sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) in the body. This may occur
when a person carries out strenuous physical activity, drinks large quantities
of water, but fails to replace salts / electrolytes lost through sweating.
Cramps can occur during or after working hours, and may be relieved by
drinking saline / electrolyte solutions. In more serious cases, and if,
determined necessary by a doctor, a saline solution should be administered
intravenously for quicker relief.
Muscle pains or spasm usually in the abdomen, arms or legs.
• Immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
• Stop all activity and sit quietly in a cool and shady area. Inform nearby
workers of the problems encountered.
• Drink clear juice or a liquid containing salt (e.g. electrolyte / ion
• Do not returns to strenuous activity for at least a few hours after the
cramps subside. It should be noted that further exertion might lead to
heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
• Seek medical attention if heat cramps do not subside within 1 hour.
Hear rash, also known as prickly heat, may occur in hot and humid
environments where sweat is not easily removed from the surface of the skin
by evaporation. When extensive, or complicated by infection, heat rash
can be so uncomfortable that in inhibits sleep and impedes a worker’s
performance or even results in temporary total disability. In most cases, heat
rashes will disappear when the affected individual returns to a cooler
Causes of Thermal Stress illnesses / injuries
It is difficult to predict just who will be affected by thermal stress, and when,
because individual susceptibility varies. In addition, environmental factors
causing thermal stress are not restricted to ambient air temperature, as
radiant heat, air movement, conduction and relative humidity all affect an
individual’s response to heat.
Age, weight, degree of physical fitness, degree of acclimatization,
metabolism, use of alcohol or drugs, and a variety of medical conditions,
such as hypertension, also affect a person’s sensitivity to heat. Even the type
of clothing worn must be considered.
All ITC and subcontractor employees will undergo a pre-employment health
assessment, performed by a health practitioner to ensure that they are
physically fit and do not have a serious pre-existing medical condition prior
to being assigned to the project.
The higher the air temperature, the less heat the body can lose by
convection, conduction and radiation. If the temperature of the
environment increases above skin temperature, the body will actually gain
heat from the environment instead of losing heat to it.
The amount of moisture present in the air determines whether moisture
(sweat) in vapour form flows from the skin to the environment, or vice versa.
In general, the moisture concentration at the skin will be higher than in the
environment, making evaporative heat loss from the skin possible.
Convective and evaporative heat losses increase with increasing wind
Clothing functions as a barrier to heat and moisture transfer between the
skin and the environment. In this way it can protect against extreme heat
and cold but, at the same time, it hampers the loss of excessive body heat
generated during physical activity / effort.
THERMAL STRESS PREVENTION & CONTROL MEASURES
ITC shall consider the implementation of either or all of the following
engineering control measures during the construction Phase to minimize the
potential to expose workers to conditions that may cause thermal stress.
General ventilation to dilute hot air with cooler air (generally cooler air that
is brought in from the outside), such control measures will be considered for
the workshops and confined spaces.
Conduction & Radiation Methods
Insulating hot surfaces that generate heat, to reduce the amount of heat to
which a worker may be exposed.
Shields can be used to reduce radiant heat, i.e. heat coming from hot
surfaces within the worker’s line of sight. Surface that exceed 35*C are
sources of infrared radiation that can add to the worker’s heat load.
Shields should be located so that they do not interface with airflow, unless
they are also being used to reduce convective heating. The reflective
surface of the shield should be kept clean to maintain its effectiveness.
All buildings at site, particularly offices and accommodation / camp
buildings, shall be cooled using air-conditioning units.
Canopies of awnings shall be provided over sections of the site where work
is being carried out to shield workers from the U/V rays of the sun, as well as
from the direct heat of the sun. Canopies, awnings or tents will also be
erected to provide shade of workers taking their predetermined rest breaks,
to minimize their exposure to the direct sun (refer to section 5.2 below).
Limiting Exposure Time and/or Temperature (Work-Rest Regime)
The following measures will be implemented to minimize the exposure of
workers to conditions that may cause thermal stress.
When possible during the hot summer season, schedule strenuous or hot
jobs for the cooler part of the day (early morning, late afternoon, or night
Add extra personnel to reduce exposure time for each member of the
Permit freedom to interrupt work when a worker feels extreme heat
Adjust schedule when possible so that hot operations are not performed at
the same time and place as other operations that require the presence of
Provide regular rest breaks during hot weather to allow the body to cool
down, especially where the work is hard, physical. The following table
provides guidance as to the minimum rest breaks to be provided every hour
for outside work during temperatures.
Provision of a thermometer to monitor ambient shade temperature.
Each worker is issued with a personal 1ltr water flask (refer to 5.5) cool water
shall be readily available in close proximity to replenish these, workers are
advised to drink adequate amounts of water frequently (preferably every
20-30 minutes) to replace the water lost through sweating.
Each worker is advised to drink at least 4 liters of water during an 8 hour shift
and 6 liters during a 10 hour shift.
It is recommended that workers do not take salt tablets (or large amounts of
salt on their food), as more water will be required by the body to remove
excess salt, which increases the amount of work for the kidneys and further
increases the risk of dehydration. Salts tablets (or excess salt) also increase
the risk of high blood pressure.
Health Assessment / Monitoring.
Only fit, healthy workers will be allowed to work in conditions where severe
thermal stress is a possibility. All employees are required to undergo a health
assessment prior to their employment, or deployment to site.
Protective Clothing /PPE
Workers on site are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
such as safety helmets, safety shoes / boots, coveralls and safety glasses
(tinted for the sun or bright conditions). This PPE provides some protection
from the sun’s harmful U/V rays, but does not prevent thermal stress. In
addition each employee is issued with a personal 1ltr water flask this is
considered as part of the mandatory PPE requirements; employees are
responsible for ensuring that the flask is replenished as and when emptied.
The Project HSE Officer, will perform routine informal and formal inspections
on site to check that the requirements of this procedure are being
implemented. Formal inspection will be recorded on the Thermal Stress
Prevention Checklist provided as Appendix 1.
The findings of these inspections will be reported to the project and
corporate HSE Managers.
Prior to any work being undertaken, a risk assessment is prepared in
accordance with the Hazard identification and Risk Analysis Procedure ITCHSE-
002. During a job specific risk assessment, issues such as thermal stress
will be included and appropriate protection and mitigation measures
ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
In addition to the Thermal Stress Prevention and Control Measures provided
in section 5, the following precautionary measures shall also be observed:
• Provide accurate verbal and written instructions, (refer to self check
urine colors dehydration indicator chart appendix 3, this chart is
displayed in all toilet facilities), frequent training programs, and other
information about thermal stress related conditions.
• Assure co-worker observation to detect signs and symptoms of
• Pay extra attention to those who take medications that compromise
normal cardiovascular, blood pressure, body temperature
regulation, renal, or sweat gland functions.
• Ensure that first aiders are properly trained in the recognition of
thermal stress symptoms and required treatment.
• Ensure that temperature and humidity are measured and recorded
regularly (at least twice daily).
TRANING & EDUCATION
Training is the key to good work practices. Unless all employees understand
the reasons for using new, or changing old work practices, the chances of
such a program succeeding are greatly reduced.
The HSE induction / Orientation provided to all employees will explain the
causes and symptoms of thermal stress related illnesses and injuries,
minimum PPE requirements, the need to take regular rest breaks in the
shade, and the need to drink plenty of water (to replace body fluids lost
through sweating) when working in hot climates and conditions.
Specific Thermal Stress Prevention training will be provided to all Managers,
Superintendents and Supervisors and will include, but not be limited to, the
• Knowledge of the hazards of thermal stress.
• Recognition of predisposing factors, danger signs, symptoms and potential
effects of thermal stress related illnesses and injuries.
• Awareness of firs-aid procedures for treatment of thermal stress related
illnesses and injuries, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat
• Employee responsibilities in avoiding thermal stress.
• Dangers of using drugs, including therapeutic ones, and alcohol in hot work
• Use of protective clothing and equipment.
• Planning of strenuous / physical activities and hot operations for cooler
periods, wherever possible, e.g. early morning or evening / night.
• Importance of regular rest breaks in the shade or air-conditioning during hot
periods as per the requirements of section 5.2 of this procedure.
• Requirement to regularly drink water or electrolyte drinks to replace body
fluids lost through sweating. Personnel should be made aware of the
requirement to drink at least 4 liters of water during an 8 hours shift and 6
liters during a 10 hour shift.
• Use of relief workers where possible.
REVIEW & IMPROVEMENT
This Thermal Stress Prevention Procedure will be subjected to audit by HSE
Department in accordance with the internal Audit Procedure. ITC-HSE-02