Extreme temperatures, both very hot and very cold, are a familiar problem for workers. While there is a legally enforceable minimum workplace temperature, there is not a corresponding maximum enforceable temperature.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“As temperatures rise this week we want workers to know that employers are expected to take reasonable steps to deal with uncomfortably high temperatures. Special care needs to be taken as workplaces implement necessary social distancing and Coronavirus safety measures.
“Outdoor workers controlling queues or collecting trolleys need sun and heat protection, some sort of shade if possible, suitable clothing, sunscreen of factor 30 or above, water to prevent dehydration and frequent breaks. Now that fans cannot be used, indoor workers need cool drinks, more frequent breaks, relaxed dress code, along with opportunities to remove masks and face visors.
“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 fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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) https://www.usdaw.org.uk/291
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion