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How to protect your staff in a heatwave

With temperatures set to soar once again today, the TUC has shared guidance on how employers can keep their staff cool.

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Parts of the UK are set to bask in the scorching heat once again today, with temperatures set to climb to 30C across southern and western England.

 

With the warm weather looking set to continue for the next few days, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) is urging employers to make sure their staff are protected from the sun and heat.

 

This comes after the Met Office issued one of its new-style extreme amber heat weather warnings for the first time.

 

This warning covers parts of Wales, all of south-west England and parts of southern and central England, which will be in place until tomorrow, when temperatures are expected to peak.

 

During these bouts of warmer weather, there are ways that employers can help their workers. The TUC has shared five key tips:

 

Allow flexible working

Giving staff the chance to come in earlier or later will allow them to stay out of the mid-day heat, which will help to keep them cool and more productive. In addition, allowing staff to work from home will be an added benefit to protect staff from the heat.

 

Relax dress codes

Temporarily relaxing formal dress codes will also help to keep employees cool, for example jackets and ties could be left at home.

 

Listening to staff

Employees will likely have their own ideas about how to keep cool, so consider listening to them or unions to find out.

 

Keeping buildings cool

Workplaces can get incredibly warm, however they can be kept cooler with the addition of fans, windows being kept open or moving staff away from sources of heat.

 

Extra breaks

During a heatwave, staff may become less productive or engaged, so consider offering extra breaks and little work perks such as ice lollies to keep them cool.

 

While there is no law for the minimum or maximum temperature employees can work in, during working hours the temperature in all indoor workspaces must be ‘reasonable’.

 

TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady, added: “We all love the summer sun. But working in sweltering conditions in a baking shop or stifling office can be unbearable and dangerous.

 

“Indoor workplaces should be kept cool, with relaxed dress codes and flexible working to make use of the coolest hours of the day.

 

“And bosses must make sure outdoor workers are protected with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.”

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