Health issues due to sweltering conditions are causing concern to some car wash attendants at parking lots, it is learnt.
While most of these attendants operate in the open parking lots of shopping centres, some work in indoor parking facilities where conditions could be equally difficult at times, they say.
Narrating his experience, a car wash attendant said he is able to wash 17-20 cars a day regularly while working in the parking area of a popular shopping centre in Doha. He is part of a company that operates mobile car wash services in the parking lots of some malls and hypermarkets.
However, with the mercury level shooting up, he is now able to wash only 10-12 cars a day. This is because productivity takes a hit in the scorching conditions and it takes more time to wash a car, he said. The worker also noted that he and some of his fellow workers sometimes suffered from heat-related ailments.
“It is good that our company provides us with some health benefits. Still, it is not easy to be exposed to such temperatures during the summer and there are days when the heat is unbearable,” he told Gulf Times.
Daytime temperatures in different parts of Qatar have remained above 40C in recent weeks, sometimes crossing the mid-40C mark. Asked how he copes with the heat, the worker said he tries to drink “a lot of water and Sprite”.
Besides the heat, Doha and other parts of Qatar have also been dusty and windy of late. For car wash attendants, the only precaution is to cover their faces to avoid inhaling the dust, he said.
“There is not much that we can do when it is windy or dusty. Our work is located outdoors, so obviously we are exposed to the elements. But at least we have jobs and for that I am thankful that I am able to send money back home to my family,” he said.
During the cooler months, he said he gets more customers and is able to wash up to 30 cars a day. “Some of my customers are those who don’t want to wait at petrol stations or private car wash stations.
“What they usually do is to shop or stroll inside the mall while waiting for their cars to get cleaned, which would usually take about 30 minutes.”
Meanwhile, an expatriate who washes cars in an indoor parking lot of a mall said they, too, face challenges during the summer.
Referring to the indoor parking lot of a well-known destination in Doha, he said: “That place is well-ventilated. However, where we are located, it can get really stuffy and the problem is aggravated sometimes by smoke-belching vehicles.”