Imagine toiling under the scorching sun, day in and day out, without respite. For millions of workers worldwide, this scenario is not just a hypothetical; it’s their reality. As temperatures rise due to climate change, the threat of heatwaves looms larger than ever, posing serious health risks to those who work outdoors or in non-air-conditioned environments.

Heatwaves, defined as prolonged periods of excessively hot weather, can push the human body beyond its limits, leading to heat-related illnesses. For workers, especially those in labour-intensive industries such as construction, agriculture, and manufacturing, exposure to high temperatures can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even death if not properly managed.


Key Highlights:

The Labour Department, Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and Maharashtra Labour Department have issued circulars regarding preventing heat waves in all the establishments/factories/shops/construction sites and effective steps which are need to be taken for management and mitigation of adverse effects of extreme hot weather through a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional administrative approach.

As the scorching sun beats down on various parts of India, with temperatures soaring beyond 42 degrees Celsius, the Labour Department issues vital guidelines for workplaces. Ensuring the well-being of employees is paramount during this severe heat wave. Establishments, Factories, Shops, Construction sites/companies, Employers and Industries must adhere to these precautions:

  • All the establishments to ensure that adequate Clean Drinking Water should be available at the working place.
  • All the establishments to ensure availability of cooling systems like fans or coolers at the work place.
  • Employee education to the workers/employees about the precautions to be taken during the heat wave conditions including covering of their head during direct exposure to sunlight etc.
  • Preparation of emergency kits containing ice packs and oral rehydration solution for the construction workers/employees.
  • Shift adjustments of work to avoid peak heat hours (12 PM–4 PM).
  • Prompt reporting of any heat-related illnesses to nearby healthcare facilities.
  • Re-scheduling of working hours for employees/workers in different sectors.
  • Ensuring necessary arrangements to regulate piece rate and requirement/urgency for undertaking physical work during summer.
  • Coordinating with Health Department to ensure regular health check-up of the workers.
  • Ensuring adherence to Health Advisory issued by M/o Heath and Family Welfare for Employers and Workers.
  • Ensuring adequate quantity of cool water and electrolyte supplements are easily available.
  • Different schedules may be negotiated to let workers do the hardest work during the coolest parts of the day.
  • Slowing down the pace of work should be allowed, especially if the worker feels even slight heat strain.
  • Rest areas should be located as near to the workplace as practicable.
  • To ensure workers should drink at least a glass of water every 15-20 minutes in really hot conditions.
  • Rest timings may be re-scheduled to avoid work during high/extremely hot temperatures. Where this is not possible, a two- person crew should be assigned to perform work during extremely hot temperatures.
  • It must be ensured that workers do not enter/work in an atmosphere having no ventilation or inadequate ventilation in underground mines.
  • Workers must be made aware of the dangers from excessive heat and humidity and remedial measures.
  • Provide shaded work area for workers. Temporary shelter can be created at work site.
  • Schedule strenuous and outdoor jobs to cooler times of the day i.e., morning and evening hours.
  • Increase the frequency and length of rest breaks for outdoor activities- at least every 5 minutes after 1 hour of labour work.
  • Listen to Radio; watch TV; read Newspaper for local weather news and act accordingly. Get the latest update of weather on India Meteorological Department (IMD) website at
  • Make sure everyone is properly acclimatized: it takes weeks to acclimatize to a hotter climate. Do not work for more than three hours in one day for the first five days of work. Gradually increase the amount and time of work.
  • Pregnant workers and workers with a medical condition or those taking certain medications should discuss with their physicians about working in the heat.
  • If working outdoors wear light-coloured clothing preferably long sleeve shirt and pants, and cover the head to prevent exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Install temperature and forecast display at the workplace.
  • Distribute informational pamphlets and organize training for employers and workers regarding health impacts of extreme heat and recommendations to protect themselves during high temperatures.
  • Steps to be taken in Heat Stroke Management –
  • Maintain high clinical suspicion
  • Weather awareness
  • Measure core body temperature
  • Initiate immediate external cooling
  • Early decision regarding invasive cooling
  • Maintain on airway, breathing, circulation
  • Monitor for and correct metabolic derangements


As temperatures continue to rise, the need to protect workers from the dangers of heatwaves becomes increasingly urgent. By implementing these proactive measures and advocating for stronger workplace protections, employers can ensure that workers across all sectors can safely navigate the heat and continue to thrive.


Disclaimer:  This is an effort by, to contribute towards improving compliance management regime. User is advised not to construe this service as legal opinion and is advisable to take a view of subject experts.

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