Feeling The Heat? Your Rights At Work In Hot Weather

Long hot summers are becoming standard in Britain. Which is great, of course - when you're out in the park and able to enjoy it.

But not so much when you're stuck at work.

It's not uncommon at the height of summer for offices and other workplaces to record temperatures of 37°(95°F). This makes work extra tiring for employees, and is a potential cause of accidents.

What are the hazards?

Hot temperatures can affect people working indoors or outdoors in a range of different workplaces including offices.

If people get too hot, they risk dizziness, fainting, or even heat cramps. In very hot conditions blood temperature rises. If the blood temperature elevates above 39 °C, there is a risk of heat stroke or collapse. Delirium or confusion can occur above 41°C.  Blood temperatures at this level can prove fatal and even if a worker does recover, they may suffer irreparable organ damage.

Hot work indoors can lead to increased stress and lapses in concentration. These in turn can affect work by leading to mistakes and a reduced work rate and greater risk of accidents. Employees who work outdoors run a higher risk of skin cancer. They may also experience heat stress and heat stroke.

Exposure to sunlight can speed up the ageing process. Sunburn can also occur, and exposure to UV rays can trigger cold sores and lupus. Eyes can also be affected by exposure leading to problems in the long term.

What does the law say?

All employees are protected by law from having to work in excessively hot temperatures.

And to make sure you know your rights, we've teamed up with UNIONLINE - GMB members' law firm - to produce our second Quick Rights legal briefing. 

You can read and download it here: www.gmb.org.uk/heat

Our Quick Rights legal advice will come in all sorts of formats, from brief PDF documents, to graphics and videos, but they'll all have one thing in common: professional, qualified legal advice delivered in a timely and easy to understand format.

For a more in-depth look at dealing with hot temperatures at work - and for a printable reps' checklist for dealing with hazards - download our full health & safety guide at www.gmb.org.uk/heat-full

Feeling The Heat Guide.pdf




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