We’ve seen some incredibly hot days this summer, with temperatures in July reaching 38 degrees celsius in parts of Hull & East Yorkshire.
With more warm days being forecasted over the coming weeks, what are the responsibilities of the employer when temperatures soar?
Unlike extreme cold, there is no maximum temperature enshrined in law at which point an employee can down tools and go home. This does not mean however that the employer is absolved of all responsibility.
An employer must still exercise a duty of care towards its employees, and extreme temperatures may create a health and safety issue which is the employer’s responsibility to deal with.
So, what can an employer do? We’ve come up with some suggestions, though they are only that, suggestions, which may help meet you meet your health and safety obligations.
None of these suggestions are compulsory, more food for thought:
- Consider allowing employees to take short-notice annual leave?
- Provide additional breaks during the day, particularly when temperatures are at their highest.
- Provide plenty of water and time to take extra water breaks.
- Consider changing the hours of work to times when the temperature is cooler.
- Consider letting employees leave early and make the time up later when weather is cooler.
- Consider relaxing uniform policies to allow staff to wear clothes more suitable to the weather.
These are just a few possible tips for when we’re next faced with extreme temperatures.