Too Hot to Handle?

Too hot too handle

Too hot too handle - Credit: Archant

In the current heatwave, Labour MP Linda Riordan has tabled an early day motion which could make it law for workplaces to send staff home when temperatures reach more than 30C. The group of MPs behind the campaign, which it seems is unlikely to succeed, claim that it could prevent potentially fatal accidents.

The Halifax MP said ministers should 'resolve uncertainty for employers about their duty to combat excessive heat in the workplace by introducing a maximum working workplace temperature of 30 degrees C (86F) and of 27 degrees C (81 degrees F) for those doing strenuous work'.

The motion warns that employees in workplaces are often subjected to temperatures which can 'impact seriously on their health and well-being'.

'While the current warm weather can make some workplaces uncomfortable, I think it would be very difficult to enforce a maximum temperature as humidity and air quality vary so much from one workplace to another,' said Big Sky Additions' director, Justin Murray. 'We would encourage all employers to do as much as they can to make workplace temperatures bearable to ensure high levels of productivity and staff welfare are maintained,' he added. 'Simple things like using blinds to block out direct sunlight, providing free standing fans close to windows to circulate cooler air and turning off unnecessary computer equipment can all help to keep office temperatures down,' suggested Justin.

There are currently guidelines regarding minimum workplace temperatures, but nothing to cover the current heatwave conditions. An official code of practice introduced in 1992 as part of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations states that workplace temperatures should not normally drop below 16 degrees C – or 13 degrees C if the work involves severe physical effort – but there is no suggested maximum limit.

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