While many will welcome the sunshine and warmer weather, spare a thought for those who will have to work in sweltering conditions in kitchens, factories, shops and offices around the country.
Working in really hot premises can be unbearable and dangerous. You might be surprised to know that while staff are not expected to work when the temperature gets a tad chilly and drops below 16°C (or 13°C if they are do physically demanding work) there are no similar restrictions for when the workplace becomes too hot.
Working in hot weather can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting, and – in the most extreme cases – loss of consciousness. Outdoor workers are three times more likely to develop skin cancer.
There’s no law on maximum working temperatures. However, during working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be ‘reasonable’.
Employers have a duty to keep the temperature at a comfortable level and provide clean and fresh air.
The TUC would like to see a change in the law so that employers must attempt to reduce temperatures if they get above 24°C and workers feel uncomfortable. And employers should be obliged to provide sun protection and water. We would like ministers to introduce a new absolute maximum indoor temperature, set at 30°C (or 27°C for those doing strenuous jobs), to indicate when work should stop. We need a maximum working temperature now - Sign the petition
With climate change bringing higher temperatures to the UK, the government needs a plan on how to adapt and keep workers safe.
This interactive guide is for union members and reps who want to learn about the actions they can take to guard against extreme temperatures in the workplace and contribute to the fight against climate change. This guide will:
Watch this video where the panel discuss what reps can do to ensure their employers assess risks and introduce any necessary prevention or control measures in the workplace.
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