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Is the heat making waves in your business?

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With the heatwave back in full swing and the Met Office issuing an amber “heat healthwatch warning” for parts of England this week, just what are your duties to your staff?

All employers have a legal obligation to make sure that the temperature in the workplace is ‘reasonable’, as outlined by the Workplace (HSAW) Regulations 1992 but, contrary to popular belief, there is no set maximum temperature.

However, you might want to think about taking steps to make sure that your employees are as comfortable as possible during this unusually hot weather.  Here’s a few hints and tips to help everyone keep their cool:

  • If you don’t have air conditioning, how about some extra fans, or rearranging office furniture so that desks are in shaded areas and away from any sun glare?
  • Does the nature of your business involve your employees in particularly physically challenging roles?  Could you reschedule particularly strenuous tasks to cooler times of the day and allow them to take more frequent breaks?
  • Make sure that staff have easy access to cold drinks so that they can keep hydrated.
  • You might want to adopt a more relaxed dress code at work, depending on the role the employee performs. It may be that employees need to continue to wear protective clothing for health and safety reasons.  Alternatively, they might have customer-facing roles where they will need to maintain a certain standard of presentation.  But whatever you decide, you need to ensure that dress codes are reasonable and do not discriminate between groups of employees.
  • And finally…. Take care that any disabled employees are comfortable in their working environment. For example, people with multiple sclerosis have been shown to experience greater pain and fatigue on hot days.

If you would like any advice on your polices and procedures or on any aspect of employment law, please do not hesitate to contact Lubna Laheria on 01384 445885 or 0800 118 1500.