Is it TOO hot to work?

15 June 2023

With the recent increased temperatures set to continue, at this time of year it gives rise to the question of is it too hot to work?

Sadly, there is no maximum temperature but only a minimum of 16 degrees. No meaningful upper limit can be set because of indoor workplaces such as bakeries and foundries. The TUC is pushing for an upper limit of 30 degrees to be brought in but with no success.

However, all employees are entitled to an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard.

Typical symptoms of heat can include an inability to concentrate, heat rash, heat exhaustion or fainting.

Employers should assess the risks associated with heat and carry out reasonable steps such as

  • Providing air conditioning, comfort cooling or fans.
  • Ensuring windows can be opened to provide adequate ventilation.
  • Shading employees from direct sun with blinds or reflected film on the windows
  • Position employees away from the direct sunlight
  • Providing cold water dispensers

Employers can also change work arrangements to avoid people getting too hot by:

  • Introducing flexible working patterns, such as job rotation, moving employees to cooler parts, or working when it is cooler
  • Allowing enough breaks to allow employees to get cold drinks or cool down
  • Relaxing formal dress codes

Please contact the SLCC advice service for any assistance.

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