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Managing Staff through a UK heatwave

Published by Safety Net Team

July 19, 2022

Employers in the UK don’t typically have to worry too much about how to manage staff during periods of extremely high temperatures. Indeed, there is an abundance of information available on making alternative arrangements for rain and snow, but with temperatures set to reach almost 40 degrees next week, employers will need to put measures in place to keep teams cool and comfortable. There could be added issues if staff can’t get to work or, in some cases, if they pull a sickie to make the most of the warm weather. As such, it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

The law

The law does not say how hot or cold the workplace should be, and there is no legal maximum working temperature. Guidance only suggests that temperatures should be reasonable and comfortable. Employers can keep staff cool by allowing desk fans, turning up air conditioning and relaxing dress codes. Where a uniform is in place, it can be helpful to give staff flexibility on how this applies during this warm spell. For example, instead of requiring staff to wear branded jumpers or fitted shirts, they may instead allow employees to wear a similar colour but in a more comfortable material and style.

Those who are pregnant or going through menopause may find these high temperatures cause particular discomfort. Where this is the case, reasonable adjustments should be made to support them. This might include arranging for them to temporarily work from home, take longer or more frequent rest breaks, reduce normal duties or moved to cooler areas. Similarly, employees with a disability or other underlying health conditions (eg skin condition, light/heat sensitivity, etc) may require amendments to their normal working arrangements or time off work.

For more information go to get free advice and request a call back.

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