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MPs in the UK call for Introduction of Maximum Workplace Temperature

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Mon, Jul 22, 2013

With the recent hot weather and continuing heatwave across the UK, MPs have called for employees to be sent home if the temperature reaches 30C at work.

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“Whilst there is a legal minimum workplace indoor temperature there is no legal maximum workplace temperature, so conditions can vary greatly from employer to employer,” the motion said.

“[We] understand that employees in a wide range of workplaces - from industrial bakeries to school classrooms - are often subjected to high temperatures which can impact seriously on their health and well-being, with effects ranging from discomfort, stress, irritability and headaches, to extra strain on the heart and lungs, dizziness and fainting and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt,” the MPs said. “[We] observe that the consequent reduction in cognitive function, attention span and visual motor tracking can contribute to workplace accidents and fatalities.”

In order to resolve this issue, MPs have urged the government to introduce maximum working workplace temperature of 30C and 27C for people doing strenuous work.

Furthermore, TUC also called for the same maximum legal temperatures with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady saying that: “Extreme heat can be just as harmful as extreme cold, and so long as there is no legal maximum working temperature, many of the UK’s workers are likely to be facing conditions that are not just personally unpleasant, but which are also likely to hit their productivity.

“As soon as the temperature starts to soar and begins to nudge 24OC, employers should be allowing their staff to dress down for summer and make sure that plenty of fans, portable air conditioning units and cold drinking water is available to reduce the heat in offices, factories, shops, hospitals, schools and other workplaces across the country,” she said.

Workers denied this support will feel lethargic, and lack inspiration and creativity, the TUC warned.

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Topics: Employee Retention, Workforce Solutions