Here’s a sentence we don’t often get to say: it’s getting hot! The coming days are set to see record temperatures across the UK, giving us the feeling of an actual summer for the first time in a long time. While we’ve had to contend with previous weather issues (the Beast from the East to name but one), being too hot is not often one of them. Here we look at the things that employers should be thinking about while we’re enjoying the current hot spell.
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure that the temperature in the workplace is “reasonable”, as outlined by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Employers have a duty to ensure that the temperature is comfortable for employees, and also ensure that the air is fresh and clean. Legislation doesn’t outline a minimum or maximum temperature in which people can work, but previously the TUC has stated that it believes a maximum temperature of 30C should be set by employers, with a maximum of 27C put into place for those doing strenuous work.
The government recommends that employees speak to their bosses if the temperature in their workplace is uncomfortable. Acas advises employers should carry out a risk assessment for the health and safety of their workers in order to determine whether the workplace is a safe environment in which to work. However it is ultimately up to the employer to decide whether the circumstances aren’t suitable for work.
If employees spend a lot of their time outside, employers might choose to introduce further rest breaks for their employees and encourage them to drink more water to keep hydrated. Also, if an employer operates a workplace where employees are required to dress in “business wear”, they might be more flexible with what employees are required to wear, particularity if they are not client or customer facing. Although employees should be mindful of continuing to remain professional – keep those denim shorts for the beach!
So over the coming weeks, employers should keep an eye on the temperatures within their offices and ensure that staff are feeling comfortable by bringing in fans to keep the temperatures down, and perhaps treating everyone to a Solero every once in a while!
For more information or advice, contact our employment team.