Employers need to act to make sure their workers are protected during periods of extreme hot weather this summer in a message from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – the country’s workplace regulator.
There is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, but the regulator is calling on employers to be responsible. Employers must assess risks to the health and safety of their workers by law, including risks from extreme weather such as heat waves.
HSE is asking employers to consider simple and cheap measures such as:
- Making sure workplace windows can be opened or closed to prevent hot air from circulating or building up.
- Using blinds or reflective film on workplace windows to shade workers from the sun.
- Placing workstations away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
- Putting insulation around hot pipes and machinery.
- Offering flexible working patterns so workers can work at cooler times of the day.
- Provide free access to drinking water.
- Relaxing dress codes if possible.
- Providing weather-appropriate personal protective equipment
- Encouraging workers to remove personal protective equipment when resting (ideally in shaded areas) to cool off.
- Sharing information about the symptoms of heat stress and what to do if someone is affected.
John Rowe, HSE’s Head of Operational Strategy, said: “Last summer should have been a wakeup call for all employers. Climate change means we’re likely to get hotter summers and that could have a big impact on the workforce of this country, affecting everything from health of workers to productivity on construction sites.
“We know all employers are under pressure and we don’t want to add to their burden but it’s vital they think hard now about simple and cheap measures they can put in place to support workers should we see extreme heat again this summer.
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