Keeping your cool as workplace temperatures soar

News Article

The body that represents more than six million working people has issued its annual plea, calling on employers to relax workplace dress codes in a bid to help staff keep their cool during higher summer temperatures.

The TUC has issued its call as temperatures hit 34°C – hotter than the Bahamas – in some parts of the country.

Although there is a legal limit below which workplace temperatures should not fall (16°C), there is no upper limit and soaring temperatures could make many workplaces uncomfortably hot, the TUC has warned.

The TUC has been campaigning for a change in safety regulations to introduce a new maximum temperature of 30°C – or 27°C for those doing strenuous work – with employers required to adopt cooling measures when the workplace temperatures hits 24°C.

In addition to allowing comfortable clothes, the TUC has suggested that any outside work is done in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the mid-day sun.

It also suggests that companies should supply workers with cool drinks and allow them to take regular breaks.

Lara Murray, an Associate and employment law expert at Palmer said: “It does seem unfathomable to some people, that we have a law which protects us from working in an environment which is too cold but nothing to safeguard individuals if it becomes excessively warm.

“In the absence of a legal upper limit for temperatures in the workplace, the advice offered by the TUC is good common sense. Helping employees to remain as productive as possible by relaxing workplace rules and keeping them hydrated and out of the midday sun, is a win win for all concerned.”

At Palmers, our employment law team can provide expert guidance to employers on putting in place employment policies and procedures, including dress code policies that establish clear guidelines on appropriate clothing and appearance at the workplace – including in hot or cold weather – and take into account different cultural and religious considerations, health and safety requirements and disability issues.

For more information, please contact us.