[Audio] Hot weather advice for employers
As forecasters at the Met Office predict the highest July temperatures ever recorded this week, with a 30% probability on Wednesday (19 July) of breaking the all-time UK temperature record, and the TUC call for employers to relax their dress codes, employers will find themselves once again facing the question of - and issues surrounding - workplace temperature.
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire questioned Workplace Law Managing Director David Sharp about what employers can – and should – be doing for their employees when the temperatures rise. The interview can be downloaded by clicking on the links in this story.
A factsheet containing advice to employers on how to deal with issues and problems raised by workplace temperature can be downloaded from here.
By law there is no maximum workplace temperature. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state, "during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable". The problem of course is the question of what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ temperature?
The TUC is today (18 July) launching its 'cool work' campaign as it urges employers in the UK to follow the lead of Japanese businesses and relax dress codes as the temperature rises.
Last year, in an attempt to reduce energy use, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi took off his tie and urged his country's workforce to leave their jackets and ties at home so that their employers could turn down the air conditioning or do away with it all together during their hot, humid summer.
The TUC believes that the best way for staff to keep cool inside when it's hot outside is for employees to be able to sport more casual attire in the office, perhaps coming in jacket and tie-less, or wearing shorts.
Employers who provide their staff with a cool and comfortable work environment will get more out of them, says the TUC. And bosses who give summer garb the green light could also save on their energy bills, by turning down or even turning off the air con.
Download employers' advice factsheet.