With the temperature set to rise above 30degC today (Friday) in many parts of the UK, the TUC is calling on employers to make sure staff are protected from the sun and heat.
Working in hot weather can also lead to dehydration, tiredness, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting, and – in the most extreme cases – loss of consciousness.
The TUC says employers can help their workers by:
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 to introduce a new maximum indoor temperature, set at 30degC – or 27degC for those doing strenuous jobs – with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures when the workplace temperature hits 24degC.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“We all love the summer sun. But working in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous.
“Employers must make sure outdoor workers are protected with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.
“Indoor workplaces should be kept cool, with relaxed dress codes and flexible working to make use of the coolest hours of the day.”
The TUC is also asking employers to consider additional needs that may arise in hot weather from coronavirus health and safety requirements. Frances added:
“Safe use of PPE in hot weather is especially important. Staff will need extra breaks to cool down if their equipment reduces ventilation and makes the hot weather harder to handle.
“Many offices have air conditioning, but few people have it in their homes. Lots of staff still need to work from home, so they may struggle to work during the hottest parts of the day. Employers should allow flexible hours to work when it's cooler.”
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