As the UK continues to experience unusually high temperatures, it’s essential that workers understand their rights, keep safe, and stay cool in these challenging conditions.
The sun is indeed shining, but with it comes an array of health and safety concerns. This weather isn’t just uncomfortable – it can pose significant risks, particularly for those in physically demanding roles.
Rights and Responsibilities
Firstly, it’s important to note that while the UK law doesn’t specify a maximum working temperature, employers are legally obliged to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. If conditions become extreme, it’s your right to bring this to the attention of your employer.
Tips to Stay Cool
As we navigate this heat, here are some crucial tips to help you stay cool, maintain productivity, and protect your health.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is a key measure in preventing dehydration. Aim to consume at least 8 glasses of water per day, more if you’re in strenuous roles.
- Cool Clothing: Opt for light, breathable clothing. If possible, discuss with your employer about relaxing dress codes during this period. Safety gear should, however, remain a priority.
- Take Breaks: Regular breaks are more crucial than ever. These provide an opportunity to rest, cool down, and hydrate.
- Ventilation and Shade: Ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated. If working outside, make use of available shade, and discuss potential modifications to working hours to avoid the peak sun.
- Sun Protection: If you’re working outdoors, use a high-factor sun cream, sunglasses, and a sun hat or other protective headgear to shield you from harmful UV rays.
- Keep an Eye on Each Other: Look out for signs of heat exhaustion among colleagues. These may include heavy sweating, tiredness, dizziness, cramps, rapid pulse, and headache. If any of these symptoms are noticed, it is essential to rest in a cool place and hydrate.
The Workers Union says…
“We are calling upon employers to be aware of the toll this heat can take and adapt working conditions accordingly. While the sunshine is beautiful, the safety of workers should never be compromised. We at The Workers Union remain committed to supporting and advising workers during these testing times”. For more resources and support, please get in touch.
In support of UK workers, stay safe, and stay cool.
The Workers Union is an independent organisation working to improve the lives of workers in the UK. We provide support, and resources to help create better working conditions.