Hot Weather Support
Although there is no legal maximum upper working temperature, there is protective legislation that can be applied in such situations.
Temperatures in the indoor workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace.
In addition to the Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable. Excessive heat would be classed as a risk to health and safety and as such action needs to be taken.
Under regulation 6 of the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations, employers must ‘ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air’
Under the Employment rights act Section 44 of the Act states that a worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment where they leave work, or refuse to return to work, in circumstances where the worker reasonably believes there to be ‘serious and imminent’ danger, which they could not reasonably avoid.
These protections are all year round, not just during a heatwave.
Keep an eye on other members for signs of heat stress, heat stroke and dehydration, (especially those considered more vulnerable to heat), any concerns, raise it immediately to management and BFAWU safety reps on site.
Things our Safety Rep from Allied Liverpool Jay has put together that you can do if the heat is too uncomfortable:
1. Report to your manager that you don’t consider the temperature to be reasonable in your area . Take photo if possible in case you need to send to TU safety rep.
2. Ask your manager for a thermometer so you can check the temperature. The law requires employers to provide a suitable number of these so employees can check.
3. Ask your manager to provide extra cooling measures for area or areas of concern.
4. Find out if other members are too uncomfortable to make a collective complaint.
5. Tell your BFAWU safety rep conditions are too uncomfortable. If possible provide temperatures recorded, areas of issue and immediate management actions. BFAWU reps will raise the issue with management reps.
6. Ask what other groups think, non BFAWU members, agency, engineers etc. So they can complain aswell.
Obviously we work in a hot environment, we accept that the place we work can become hot, especially in the summer.
We do not have to put ourselves at risk when and if it becomes intolerable though and must speak up for the safety of ourselves and others.
There are some TUC resources you may find useful:
- Hot In Here video