With the summer months upon us, the likelihood is that we’re going to have some unbearably hot days here in the UK. And for those working outside, this can be unbearable. So, how hot does it need to be before people can no longer carry on working?
Well, the straight answer is that it’s not always that simple. Even for office workers, a maximum temperature cannot be set due to the high temperatures found in work spaces such as foundries or glass works.
However, the Health and Safety Executive stated: “during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.”
“If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment.”
But what about if you work outside? These health and safety laws only apply to those working inside. So what can you do?
Well, the same principles pretty much apply. Whilst once again no maximum temperature has been set, employers are still obligated to carry out risk assessments to ensure that the temperature is “reasonable.”
For top tips on how to keep cool on site, click here.
This is a serious issue for employers too as in back in 2013, three army reservists all died due to heat exhaustion. After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, it was found that there had been no planning, assessing or management of the risks associated with the reservists training in unreasonable temperatures.
Consequently, the Health and Safety Executive concluded that this exercise should have been called off hours before it actually did as temperatures had reached record highs.
Therefore, according to Health and Safety Executive guidelines, it is essential that employers ensure that their workers have access to water and to monitor their health in these conditions.
And, if you have any concerns about the working temperature, then The Sun recommends that these are raised with your employer.
With a minimum temperature set for materials in the winter though, (take a look at the full report here), should a maximum temperature also be set for workers in the summer?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.