We all love the summer sun. But working in sweltering conditions, whether it’s in a baking shop, stifling office or working from home, can be unbearable and dangerous.
For the first time, the Met Office have issued an extreme amber weather warning. Forecasters warn temperatures will continue to climb and could reach 33 degrees C (91.4F) in some parts of the country.
Working in hot weather can lead to dehydration, tiredness, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting and – in the most extreme cases – loss of consciousness. Prolonged sun exposure puts workers at higher risk of skin cancer. This is why it is imperative that employers make sure their staff are protected from the sun and heat.
There’s no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures. However, during working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be ‘reasonable’.
Guidance suggests a minimum of 16degC, or 13degC if employees are doing physical work. And 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 24degC and workers feel uncomfortable. And employers should also be obliged to provide sun protection and water for outdoor workers.
The TUC would also like ministers to introduce a new maximum temperature, set at 30degC – or 27degC for those doing strenuous jobs.
Show your support
We need an absolute maximum working temperature to keep people safe from the risks associated with excessive heat and sun exposure.
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