What Are Your Rights When The Weather Feels Too Hot To Work?
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Temperatures are set to reach above 30c in some parts of the UK this week, as the country continues to experience extreme periods of hot weather.
But while warm temperatures might be great for some, there will be those who are struggling to stay cool while trying to work.
With rumours swirling that there are laws in place on when it becomes too hot to work, the legal experts at BPP University Law School have explained what employees' rights are when the weather is hot and what employers can do to help manage the problem.
Is there a law on when it becomes too hot to work?
Much to the dismay of a lot of people, there are no laws that specify a maximum temperature when an office or workplace becomes too hot to continue working.
However, while the Workplace Regulations Act 1992 may not state a specific temperature, it does say that conditions in which employees work must be kept at a reasonable and comfortable level.
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Employers have a duty of care to look after their employees, so if several workers complain about the heat, they are legally required to carry out a risk assessment and introduce measures that keep working conditions manageable.
For example, if employers are calling people into the office they must assess the risk of those having to travel on stuffy public transport, and consider whether allowing their employees to work at home will be less harmful.
Or, if office temperatures become hot and uncomfortable, employers should consider adding fans or providing air cooling cabinets to help lower the temperature of the room.
Employers are also legally required to consider each employee's particular circumstances such as if they have a health condition that will be put at risk if they are working in an environment that is too hot.
So what can you do to keep working conditions manageable?
Dress more casually (with permission) or remove certain items of clothing to keep cool.
Wear high-factor sun cream and take regular breaks in the shade if you work outside.
Use a fan to increase airflow in the space in which you work.
Drink plenty of water, taking care to avoid caffeine or fizzy drinks in order to stay hydrated.
Take more frequent breaks than you usually would, somewhere cool.
Work away from an area that is in direct sunlight if you work in an office or at home.
Carry out a risk assessment (which they are required to do by law) and introduce any necessary or preventative measures.
Give employees frequent rest breaks.
Provide access to free water for all employees no matter the work environment.
Try and reschedule outdoor work to times of the day that are cooler.
Add in shaded areas where employees may be working.
Allow employees to dress more casually if it means they will stay cooler.
Consider whether work can be done from home, to avoid employees travelling on public transportation.
Make sure that rooms in which employees are working are well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
Educate employees on the signs of heat exhaustion and what they can do to keep cool.