I had only been in the UK for about 10 days when I could not take it anymore. Although it was June, the temperature was about 14C and that had me in a fleece and with the heating on.
To top it all every night my very considerate friends were sending me pictures of them lounging around in their pools, and my birthday was coming up, I did not fancy spending it on my own.
I drew up plans to fly back to Bahrain and I was not going to tell my wife as I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for her when I turned up at the door.
Unfortunately for my plans she got in first, she sent me a message saying that she was buying me a return ticket for my birthday.
So, no surprise, but I got back to some necessary warmth.
Ha! Talk about from one extreme to the other, as soon as I got out the airport I melted when I got home I jumped in the pool only to find it was a hot bath.
Still I soldiered on, it was a relief to ditch the jeans and get back to my summer uniform of shorts and T-shirt. As the week went on, it got hotter and hotter and by Friday it was over 40C.
We decided to take the boat out for a spin but first we needed petrol. By the time we had got to Amwaj Marina and filled up, we were cooking so we decided to head back in and after only being out for less than an hour we were totally wrecked.
It took us an hour in the air-conditioned house drinking water before we were in any fit state to get into the pool.
This was the last Friday in June and so the outdoor working ban during the middle hours of the day had not yet come into effect.
So, for that week while sensible people were hiding indoors the poor construction site workers were working from 6am to 6pm through all that heat without a break. I wonder how many got ill with heatstroke?
It may be time for the government to change the regulations and order employers to break for four hours in the middle of the day when the temperature at midday has gone over 40C and not necessarily just in July and August.
It is always in the employer’s best interests as well because if an employee gets ill or God forbid, dies due to the heat then he has to bear the costs of treatment or repatriation as well as the lost productivity.
So, come on all you construction companies don’t wait till the government orders it, in this day and age, it is all about sympathetic treatment of your workforce, you have a duty to care for them, so please exercise it.
One of the largest employers in Bahrain does just that, it has great HR policies and it looks after its workforce with lots of health drives and clinics and guess what? It’s employees both Bahraini and expats just love working there and that manifests itself in very high productivity. That’s the way to do it!