Pimentel calls for ‘work break’ during extreme heat

2024 April 3

MANILA – As temperatures soar to record highs across the nation, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has called on the government to adopt measures implemented by other countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in safeguarding workers from extreme heat.

Drawing inspiration from global initiatives such as the directive by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pimentel suggested the imposition of work limitations during periods of intense heat and the enforcement of occupational heat safety and health protocols.

“The Department of Labor and Employment should work with the private sector in implementing a similar policy. As I said last year, there should be a temporary work break or compulsory rest periods when the heat index reaches a danger level,” Pimentel said in a news release on Wednesday.

Citing the alarming forecast from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Pimentel pointed out the imminent risks posed by soaring temperatures.

“PAGASA’s warning of a ‘danger’ level heat index, ranging from 42 to 51°C in Metro Manila and other regions, underscores the urgency for swift implementation of protocols to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries,” he said.

Based on the data from PAGASA, a heat index of 42 degrees Celsius was documented last Saturday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) located in Pasay City.

The monitoring station at NAIA consistently logged a heat index of 43 degrees Celsius on March 29 and March 28, 44 degrees Celsius on March 27, and 42 degrees Celsius on March 26.

In light of these alarming figures, Pimentel strongly recommended the lowering of the heat index threshold to 40 degrees Celsius, as observed in the UAE.

“I am very much concerned about the safety of our workers, especially those working outside directly exposed to the intense heat of the sun, including construction workers among others,” Pimentel said.