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Is Your Business Prepared For A Heatwave? – Tips For Employers

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Summer 2022 has seen the UK experience some of the hottest days in recorded history, leading to many wondering how to deal with this kind of weather going forward.

This has been especially concerning for businesses, and you may be considering when it is too hot to work and what accommodations you can make to prepare for a heatwave.

Here, we look at some of the legislation surrounding extreme heat at work and how you can better ensure your employees are able to work as the temperature rises.

The Law Surrounding Temperature In The Workplace

As temperatures climb, you may have heard your employees saying that it is not legal for them to work at a certain heat level.

However, there is actually no law regarding maximum heat levels allowable at work.

That said, it is expected that a workplace ensures that staff work in “reasonable” temperatures, with some suggesting that this should be around 30C for office-based activity, or 27C for those in more physical roles.

It is also necessary for all workplaces to make sure employees have clean, fresh air around them so that they can work in more comfort and not risk heat exhaustion.

But with all this in mind, how can you keep your employees safe during hot weather?

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Allow Flexible Working Hours

Commuting can be one of the most dangerous and difficult activities for employees during a heat wave.

Public transportation can become unreliable, and the roads can be very busy – leaving people sitting in hot spaces for hours at a time.

For those who cannot work from home, try to stagger their workday so that they are not commuting at peak times, reducing their heat stress.

Ensure Employees Have Adequate Protection

If you have employees who work outside, it is vital to ensure that they have the correct protection.

Providing them with drinking water, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses can help to keep them from suffering heat stroke or similar ailments.

You may also wish to adjust their working times to avoid the hottest parts of the day when possible.

Keep Your Office Ventilated

Providing fans and air conditioning is a great way to provide a cooler environment.

But while it is tempting to keep the windows shut to try and hold the heat at bay – especially when you have air conditioning – keeping your space ventilated should be a top priority.

Clean and fresh air isn’t just a requirement for you as an employer, it can also prevent employees from overheating in stuffy work environments.

Talk To Your Employees

One of the best ways that you can prepare for extreme heat is to ensure you have had an open and honest conversation with your staff members beforehand.

They should understand that unexplained sick days should not increase during hot weather, but also be aware that you may have vulnerable employees.

Older staff members, or those with health conditions, may be more prone to heat stress and require extra accommodations at these times.

While it might be impossible to “beat the heat” altogether, it is possible to improve the working conditions of your business during the hottest days.

If you would like some further advice and guidance on how best to prepare for hot weather, then we are on hand to provide suggestions to help you create the best space for your staff and yourself.

About The Author.

James Rowland

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners. He is responsible for all Account Management, Sales & Marketing within the company. Having gained a BSc in Psychology and further study for his post-grad Law degree, James embarked on his legal career in 2014. Since then, he has become an Associate Director at a national Employment Law boutique, studied for a Masters in Marketing, and as of 2018, been a Director at Neathouse Partners. Outside of the office, James is a keen cricketer, playing very badly (he calls himself a Batsman but averages single figures) in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves watching his childhood football team, Crewe Alexandra, and is an avid lover of cinema (his favourite film being Pulp Fiction). Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.

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