We all love a good heatwave, especially in the UK where hot days are few and far between.
This can also mean that we are not quite well-equipped to deal with warmer weather because we don’t experience if often enough to have a plan ready at work.
As an employer, it’s important that you are vigilant during a heat wave or warmer weather to ensure that staff aren’t suffering from heat stress. You’ll also need to look out for signs of heatstroke and other health symptoms related to extreme temperatures.
There is no law regarding the maximum temperature of the workplace, but you should be responsible in making sure that the workplace is bearable.
If a considerable number of staff are complaining about the heat, then you must conduct a risk assessment and use the results as an indicator of what to do next.
You may choose to give employees the option of working from home during those over 25 degrees’ days – only if you have no way of controlling the heat at work and you deem it safer and more productive to do so.
But there are ways to combat workplace heat without losing any staff or productivity.
Consider investing in portable desk fans for each employee, or a slightly larger one for each area of the office, this works just as well as, if not better than, air conditioning as employees have individual control as to when and if they require some cooling down.
If it’s possible to do so, why not take your work outside on those warmer days. This may only be feasible for small teams with portable equipment, or those that work in construction and are already outside for most of their working day, but any way in which you can encourage your employees to get outside, where it may be slightly cooler, is advised.
If you do choose to do this though, it’s very important that you make sure your employees are provided with the appropriate sunscreen and have water on hand.
Provide shade where possible too, particularly if you are working in an office that receives direct sunlight for much of the day.
Pull those blinds down and keep the sunlight out and you’ll feel a severe reduction in room temperature.
Communicate with your employees the decision to relax the dress code over the summer period so that there is more flexibility in what they can wear leaving them far more comfortable in the heat.
Keep in mind the safety of your staff, but if possible let them wear sandals, shorts, strappy tops and dresses if they are appropriate.
Comfortable clothing is very important during a heatwave.
Why not treat your staff to some ice-cream or cold drinks in the afternoon to cool them down and keep spirits up?
Hot weather can not only be uncomfortable and dangerous but it can also be demotivating and a major distraction from work. A little bribe to get back on track never hurt.
If you need any more advice on health and safety in the workplace, then our consultants are here for you!
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