Wednesday 21 July 2021 / 9:30 AM Andy McDonald / Workers' Rights

Labour calls for workers to be protected from extreme heat

Labour is calling on the Government to provide clear health and safety guidance to employers and introduce a maximum working temperature to protect workers from extreme heat following the Met Office issuing an extreme heat weather warning for the first time.

Labour is calling for:

  • Employers to allow their staff to work flexibly so they can avoid dangerous temperatures e.g. to avoid rush hour commutes, and allowing staff to work from home where possible
  • Employers to schedule outside tasks for early morning and late afternoon, when temperatures are cooler, and to organise work to take place under shade wherever possible
  • Employers to keep workplaces cool by opening windows, installing ventilation or air cooling, and moving staff away from windows and sources of heat
  • The relaxation of workplace dress codes so to allow workers to wear clothes that help keep them cool
  • Allowing staff to take more frequent breaks and providing cold drinks
  • The introduction of a maximum indoor temperature, with employers obliged to adopt cooling measures when the workplace temperature hits the maximum
  • Employers to consult with staff and trade unions on other measures to protect workers in extreme heat

Andy McDonald, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary, said:

“Following the unprecedented extreme heat warning from the Met Office, the Government must ensure that employers are taking steps to protect their workers. Most employers are responsible and want to take steps to protect their staff from extreme heat, but the Government must issue clear guidance.

“Given the dangers of working in heat, there should be a maximum working temperature. Extreme heat is a serious health and safety risk and working people must not be exposed to dangerous conditions that threaten their health and wellbeing.”