The Workers Union has told business to ‘beat the heat’ by keeping staff cool in summer.
‘A year ago, while other organisations were distracted, we published a detailed article about the dangers of working in extreme heatwaves. 12 months later, little appears to have changed.
It is now imperative that employers grasp the opportunity to protect their staff. This means encouraging home working on exceptionally hot days and providing adequate ventilation, frequent “cool down” breaks, plentiful drinking water and effective air-conditioning in the workplace.’
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson said: ‘The heatwave that hit Britain in the early hours of Monday morning created record breaking weather conditions – with some parts of the country sweltering in 40 degree heat. It was the first time that the Met Office had ever published a red weather warning, and experts believe that rising heat levels will make such events commonplace in the future.
The Workers Union Says…
The message coming from the corporate world is one of adaption to climate change. Adaption, of course, can mean many things; but given the kind of money spent on lobbying for loopholes, it seems reasonable to assume that many businesses are prepared to use their fiscal clout to persuade governments of the need for exceptions.
Such an attitude assumes that we can always hop on the nearest starliner and start again. We cannot. Neither can we hope to fix the problems in front of us by ignoring the effects of the climate on working conditions. What we can do, however, is consider the implications of excessive heat on workers’ bodies, and plan to mitigate them through sensible policies and tougher enforcement penalties for bosses who fail to toe the line.
That will not happen unless politicians and the private sector intervene. But amongst the clear-eyed there’s a consensus that places of work need to develop fresh strategies that start with employers’ discharging their duty of care without cutting corners or hoping that the problem will go away on its own.