5 tips to manage in a heatwave at work
Words by Natasha Young
Know the law
Contrary to popular belief there isn’t a maximum temperature allowed in workspaces before staff should be sent home. According to the Workplace Regulations Act 1992, temperatures must “provide reasonable comfort”. The Health and Safety Executive’s Approved Code of Practice (which provides guidance, not statutory regulation) says for reasonable comfort temperatures should not exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
Reconsider your dress code
If your workplace has a dress code it may be worth relaxing this when the weather is really warm, particularly if your staff aren’t client facing. As an employee, ask your employer if it’s possible to wear more comfortable clothes during the hot weather.
Provide access to drinking water
NHS Choices recommends increasing water intake during heatwaves so it’s important to make sure you provide access to drinking water for staff. Ensure water coolers are refilled regularly and allow staff to take more breaks to get drinks.
Allow flexible working when possible
If possible, allow your staff to work from home when the weather is particularly hot, especially if your workspace is difficult to keep cool. If it’s not feasible to allow staff to work remotely, at least consider relaxing start and finish times so that staff can avoid the busiest commuting periods.
Give extra consideration to vulnerable staff members
Staff members who are pregnant, elderly or have existing health conditions could be more affected by the heat. Employers should consider any special needs in these situations and try their best to accommodate them.