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Welcome to the latest news and updates from the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, your hub for business insights, events, and developments in the Cumbria region.

What are employers’ duties for working in hot weather?

The month of June has witnessed an expected heatwave, and employers are reminded to keep in mind the health, safety and welfare of their staff.
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Although there is no maximum working temperature, employers are under a statutory duty (under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) and need to implement reasonable control measures to make sure the workers are protected during hot spells. Employees can refuse to work where there is a “serious and imminent” risk to their safety and would be protected against dismissal or disciplinary action.

Risks of working in extreme weather conditions (non-exhaustive list).

Heat stress
Heat stroke
Fainting and dizziness
Excessive sweating
Heat burns (outdoor working)

What can employers do?

Make sure windows are kept open to allow in fresh air.
Provide air conditioning or fans.
Use blinds or fit reflective films on windows.
Placing workstations away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
Insulate hot pipes which generate heat.
Replacing heat-generating light bulbs
Relax the company dress code/policy.
Consider implementing flexible working. For example, an early start/finish.
Provide adequate supply of drinking water.
Ensure staff take their mandatory breaks or increase the number of breaks.
Provide weather appropriate PPE and allow staff to remove PPE during rest periods.
Ensure you have a fully stocked First Aid kit.
Consult staff to raise concerns with their line manager if they have specific concerns.

Making these changes, for the welfare and safety of your staff, may impact on the business and its finances. But, as the workforce is the biggest and most profitable asset, employers should be looking to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect them and consider it as an investment.

As this article is intended for guidance purposes only, members are encouraged to call the Chamber Protect Health & Safety Helpline for an initial discussion. Access to the helpline is included free in your membership.

Our partner Quest has the relevant expertise to advise you on all your safety needs as well as provide HS support services to ensure that employers are compliant with the law (and so avoid criminal sanctions) and the staff are protected.

The number for the Health & Safety Helpline is 01455 852 037 (Members Only)


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