Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare

Share this Page

For more information on Workplace health safety and welfare click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting are all major determinants of comfort in the workplace. Yet conditions in workplaces are often unsatisfactory and result in harmful health effects for workers.

In the 2010 TUC safety representatives survey, one in three (34 per cent) safety representatives cited high or low temperatures as one of their top concerns. Many workers face extremes of temperature. Examples include those working outdoors, work in cold stores, working near bakery ovens or furnaces. But all workers can experience problems because of hot or cold temperatures. People will complain of discomfort if the heating cannot cope in cold weather or if ventilation is bad when it is hot. Working in the wrong temperature can mean loss of concentration, irritability, tiredness, discomfort and increased accident risks. Too much heat can cause fatigue, dehydration, dizziness and fainting, heat stress and ultimately heat stroke. Cold temperatures affect dexterity and mobility and may increase physical and visual strain, fatigue, and other problems for people with muscular pain, arthritis and heart conditions. The TUC has been campaigning for maximum temperatures at work.

Many office workers have complained for years that the building that they work in is causing them ill health. Self-reported work-related illness surveys have previously shown that between 2,000 and 15,000 office workers suffer from 'sick building'-type symptoms. They believed that the symptoms were caused by their indoor working environment or indoor lighting at work.

Similarly seating, room dimensions and space, and cleanliness are all factors that are important to
workers but are often neglected by employers. It is a similar story when it comes to basic safety features. More than a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused as a result of a slip or trip. Slips or trips are the most common cause of non-fatal major injuries in both manufacturing and service industries.

Links

TUC information sheet on heat
http://www.tuc.org.uk/h_and_s/tuc-12183-f0.cfm

Give us a (Loo) break! Better welfare facilities - TUC guidance for union representatives
http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/loobreaksguidance.doc 

HSE pages on health and welfare
http://www.hse.gov.uk/smallbusinesses/must/welfare.htm


With the temperatures likely to hit the low 30°Cs tomorrow (Friday) across the South East, and the mid to high 20°Cs in other parts of England and Wales, the TUC is calling on employers to temporarily relax workplace dress codes to help their staff work through the heatwave as comfortably...
17 July 2014
Council cuts to public conveniences are leaving workers with no place to go, the public sector union UNISON has warned.
23 August 2013
Sweltering workers struggling to cope in this summer's heat wave need legal protection, the TUC has said.
19 July 2013
A trade union manifesto for reclaiming health and safety at work.
08 February 2013
As the rain stops and Britain's sizzling summer puts in a late appearance, bakers' union BFAWU is urging sweltering bakery workers to spell out just why a legal workplace temperature ceiling could save them from cooking at work.
27 July 2012
Rheged in Cumbria was the perfect setting for a Cumbria Forum focussed on health and wellbeing on Thursday 28th June. Over 40 reps attended the seminar and heard at first-hand what practical steps unions are taking to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace. Read more...
05 July 2012
The TUC has expressed concern at the remit of the Government's review of health and safety legislation announced today (Monday).
14 June 2010
Better welfare facilities - guidance for union representatives
08 March 2010
Employers should not be able to penalise staff for using the toilet in work time, and should provide their employees with clean, modern lavatories, says the TUC today (Monday) as it calls for a change in the law to bring workplace loos into the 21st century.
08 March 2010
Commenting on figures published today (Thursday) in the British Crime Survey, which showed a sharp increase in the number of physical assaults against workers last year, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
21 January 2010