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Sunday, Oct 02, 2022

Oxfam calls for ‘heat allowance’ over scorching work conditions

Oxfam calls for ‘heat allowance’ over scorching work conditions

Oxfam on Monday called on the SAR government to provide the city’s workers with “heat allowances” - a subsidy for those working in oppressively hot conditions, as well as set up new laws to protect workers from the scorching weather.
The organization conducted field inspections at refuse collection points managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department between June and July, finding that the average temperature at the sites has reached up to 32 degrees Celsius.

The organization also interviewed some 200 cleaning workers outsourced by the department, with over 65 percent of them saying they have experienced discomfort from the heat while working inside the collection points.

Most of the workers have noted that bad air circulation, along with the sweltering and humid setting have contributed to the discomfort.

Meanwhile, the survey found two-thirds of the cleaners were not given “heat breaks” by their employers as advised in the Labour Department’s heatstroke prevention guidelines.

Over 40 percent of them also reflected in the survey that their employers have failed to provide them with drinking water, with another 10 percent of them saying they were not provided with hats for sun protection.

Oxfam stressed that employers in Hong Kong mostly did not follow authorities' heatstroke prevention guidelines, while there are also inadequacies for the Labor Department in enforcing the guidelines.
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