This Proposed New Law Allows You To Go Home From Work If Your Office Hits 30C
The Met Office has warned that parts of Britain could be hit with highs of 34 degrees by the middle of the week as part of the incoming heatwave - and we're not going to lie, we're already thinking of excuses to get out of the office and into the glorious sunshine.
Sadly, there's currently no legally defined maximum temperature for offices or workplaces, and general guidelines depend a lot on the type of work.
However one group are campaigning for a new law that calls for the introduction of an upper limit on work temperature and we are behind it all the way.
Back in 2006, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) released a brief highlighting the temperatures that it believes should be maintained in various workplaces as a matter of health and safety, which they recently resurrected just last year.
According to their brief, employers would be forced to act when the temperature inside reaches 24 degrees meaning staff could be sent home and their employers prosecuted if temperatures at work hit 30 degrees (or 27 degrees for those engaged in strenuous work).
It said: "When the workplace gets too hot it is more than just an issue about comfort - it can become a health and safety issue. If people get too hot, theyrisk dizziness, fainting or even heat cramps."
Until then, current guidelines from the HSE's Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 stateonly that the temperature in indoor workplaces must be "reasonable".
"Reasonable"? That's pretty vague if you ask us.
As a general guideline, offices should be kept around 16 degrees, or 13 degrees for those doing physical work such as in factories, however the rules add that: "A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries."
It adds that employers have a duty to "keep the temperature at a comfortable level" and there should be thermometers around the workplace so that you can check the temperature.
Employers need to keep in mind that air temperature is only a rough guide because humidity, wind speed, radiant heat sources and clothing all have an effect - the comfort range for humidity is between 40 per cent and 70 per cent.
So while it unfortunately looks like you won't be getting a day off work unless you find a way to manipulate your office AC, bosses do have a responsibility to ensure their workers have access to water and monitor their well being in hot weather.
For those working outside there's no legal limit either, however the HSE does recommend the most effective ways that employers should manage the environment to ensure their workers stay safe in the sun.
These include "reschedule work to cooler times of the day", "provide free access to cool drinking water", "provide more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas" and "introduce shading in areas where individuals are working."
Schools follow the same rules as workplaces too, so it looks any kids still in the classroom over the summer holidays may be stuck there, too.
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