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Hot weather warning for employers

An expert in employment law and HR issues has offered his top tips for employers looking to ensure they are following the rules when it comes to keeping staff cool in the summer heatwave.

The UK is experiencing record hot temperatures, and the weather has prompted Daniel Rawcliffe, solicitor in the Employment & HR team at regional law firm Napthens, to offer his advice.

Daniel reports that while the law in the UK is fairly relaxed about workplace temperatures, there are a number of regulations – and expectations from staff – that should be adhered to.

He explained: “Firstly, there is an expectation that reasonable temperatures should be provided in which to work. What is reasonable will depend on the working environment and the type of work being done – someone outdoors carrying out heavy lifting is more at risk than someone indoors in an air conditioned office.

“Employers must also provide suitable drinking water for their workforce, so in this weather it’s best to stock up the water cooler and remind staff to keep drinking.

“Similarly, encourage staff to wear sunscreen if they’re out and about for extended periods. Suitable accessories such as caps, hats and sunglasses – providing they don’t provide a health and safety risk – should also be recommended.

“Although a lot of employers enforce a dress code, this can be relaxed in periods of very hot weather.

“Finally, keep an eye out for changes to the law. Although the relevant law, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 is fairly relaxed on temperature at work, employees must remember they can still be investigated by the Health & Safety Executive for not looking after staff.

“There have in fact been calls to change the law to introduce a maximum temperature for the workplace so this topic – given the current heatwave – is one that will remain in the public eye.”

Daniel’s top tips:

  1. Keep the workplace cool
  2. Keep everyone hydrated
  3. Beware the sun
  4. Dress down
  5. Watch out for changes in the law.
Daniel Rawcliffe -Employment Solicitor at Napthens LLP