Is it too hot to work?

Although in the UK we, unfortunately, don’t have prolonged periods of very hot weather. We do occasionally have short heatwaves in the UK which can make it difficult to work and sleep during those times.

There is no legal upper limit for workplaces, or when it is too hot to work. This is because some work areas such as foundries are always hot.

When is it too hot to work in the UK?

Whilst there are no legal upper limits employers must comply with health and safety law, which includes keeping the temperature at a comfortable level and providing clean and fresh air. Temperatures in workplaces must be reasonable.

What to do at work when it gets too hot?

  • Consider relaxing workplace dress codes to ensure comfortable lightweight clothing can be worn. This may not always be possible where PPE is required you may have to consider more regular breaks to cooler areas or to areas where PPE is not required.
  • Rotation of tasks to avoid consistent heavy manual work, work that doesn’t involve PPE or specific workwear which may be warmer to wear.
  • Flexible working to allow for working during the early morning or later in the evening when it is cooler.
  • Provide fans or portable air conditioning if there are no centralised systems.

What happens if the workplace is outside?

Certain occupations are outside permanently such as construction workers and gardeners. It is still a workplace even if it is outside and employers are responsible.

  • Wear long-sleeve loose shirts or tops to avoid over exposure to the sun
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats
  • Take more frequent breaks
  • Take breaks in the shade
  • Wear sun protection every day and remember to reapply it regularly

Safety tips for working in the heat

  1. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  2. Keep blinds down to keep the heat out
  3. Wear sunscreen if you work outside
  4. Take regular breaks

Despite the fact that there is no law defining a minimum or maximum working temperature, employees should always tell their employer if the workplace temperature is uncomfortable.

If you have any questions about how else to stay cool in the heat at work then give us a call, we’d love to hear from you!

As occupational health providers, we help ensure that you and your employees are compliant with our health surveillance and safety critical medicals.

Contact us today and take the first step to a safer and more comfortable work environment.