Although it's raining as I write this post, the Met Office have already issued the first yellow heat-health alert for 2023 and Europe is in the throws of a 40plus heatwave.
Regardless of what the weather is doing right now, it's best practice for employers to have procedures in place to help protect employees both inside and outside in extreme heat.
Whilst there is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, heat is classed as a hazard by the HSE and should be treated as a hazard to health and safety.
The HSE saw a surge in people seeking advice during the summer of 2022, with visits to its online hot weather working guidance increasing by nearly 1000% and the number of concerns relating to hot weather reported almost doubling in July, when temperatures exceeded 40°C for the first time in history.
Here are a few simple and cheap to implement measures:
Making sure workplace windows can be opened or closed to prevent hot air from circulating or building up.
Using blinds or reflective film on workplace windows to shade workers from the sun.
Placing workstations away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
Putting insulation around hot pipes and machinery.
Offering flexible working patterns so workers can work at cooler times of the day.
Providing free access to drinking water.
Relaxing dress codes, if possible.
Providing weather appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Encouraging workers to remove PPE when resting (ideally in shaded areas) to cool off.
Sharing information about the symptoms of heat stress and what to do if someone is affected.
Need some extra help with hot weather? Book a Consult Call with our HR Warrior Princess here.