The law around working in high temperatures in the UK is a topical conversation for many, particularly due to the recent heatwave we have just experienced! With headlines hitting the news of another heatwave due next month, many will be dreading it.
Firstly, there are no laws on maximum working temperatures, however, during working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be ‘reasonable’.
Employers also have a duty to keep the temperature at a comfortable level and provide clean and fresh air.
Things you may want to consider for your employees during a heatwave:
- Sun protection: Prolonged sun exposure can be dangerous for outdoor workers; you may want to offer sun cream.
- Allowing flexible working: Giving employees the chance to come in earlier or stay later will let them avoid the stifling and unpleasant conditions of the rush hour commute.
- Keeping workplace buildings cool: Workplaces can be kept cooler and more bearable by taking simple steps such as opening windows, using fans, and moving employees away from windows or sources of heat.
- Temporarily relaxing workplace dress codes (when able to): Encouraging employees to work in more casual clothing than normal.
- Keeping staff comfortable: Allowing employees to take frequent breaks and providing a supply of cold drinks.
Possible future updates:
The Trade Union Congress would like to see a change in the law so that employers must attempt to reduce temperatures if they get above 24 degrees C and workers feel uncomfortable. And employers should be obliged to provide sun protection and water.
They would also like ministers to introduce a new absolute maximum indoor temperature, set at 30 degrees C (or 27 degrees C for those doing strenuous jobs), to indicate when work should stop.
If you would like to speak to the team about any HR concerns you may have, then please contact the team on 01325 288 299 (opt. 2) or email us at [email protected].