21 July 2021

Working in high temperatures

Read about your rights in the workplace while working during the current high summer temperatures.

Although there is no legal maximum working temperature, health, safety and welfare legislation says that the temperature in workplaces must be reasonable. This can be measured by carrying out a thermal comfort risk assessment. Speak to your union health and safety rep about this.

Employers are also responsible for ensuring there is clean and fresh air in the workplace.  Because of Covid, in shared offices you should only use air conditioning that extracts and exchanges the air, not the type that recirculates the air, as it could potentially spread Covid. Fans should also not be used unless someone is in a room on their own.

If you have windows and doors that can be opened and create a through draft, then use them, but do not wedge open fire doors.

Managers should talk to union health and safety reps and employees to agree ways to cope with high temperatures. These can include; access to water and refreshments, more frequent breaks, better ventilation, reduced working hours, a more relaxed dress code.

If you are working from home you should speak to your health and safety rep or your manager if you are having problems because of the heat.

Heat stress can cause severe problems so should not be ignored.

You can find details of your branch health and safety rep by logging in to PCS Digital.