John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “With the hot weather in many parts of the country this week we want workers to know that employers are expected to take reasonable steps to deal with uncomfortably high temperatures. This might include providing regular cold drinks, extending or increasing the frequency of break times and relaxing stringent dress codes.
“Usdaw wants to see a legal maximum working temperature introduced of 30°C – or 27°C for those doing strenuous work – with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures when the workplace temperature hits 24°C.
“Experts say the comfort zone is normally in the region of 16°C to 24°C. As the temperature rises above this zone, heat exhaustion starts. People start to suffer loss of concentration, there are increases in accidents and loss of productivity. Symptoms include irritability, dizziness, headaches, nausea and fainting.
“For better health and safety in your workplace, make sure you're in a union and talk to your rep. Usdaw produces a helpful advice leaflet on this issue Keep Your Cool Tackling Heat Stress at Work.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union with nearly 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Keep Your Cool Tackling Heat Stress at Work (Leaflet 291) http://www.usdaw.org.uk/291
For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion