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The Red Extreme heat national severe weather warning will cover Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 for parts of central, northern, eastern and southeastern England. An Amber Extreme heat warning, has been in place for much of England and Wales for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (17 – 19 July) since earlier this week. Amber areas have also been extended to cover Cornwall, west Wales and parts of southern Scotland.
According to the HSE, the law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort.
Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk.
If you live alone, ask a relative or friend to phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.
Stay cool indoors: Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors.
If going outdoors, use cool spaces considerately.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol.
Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest.
Walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat.
Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
Make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling.
Check the latest weather forecast and temperature warnings.
During warm weather going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has recommended employers allow staff to adopt less formal attire when temperatures rise.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:
“During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.”
However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.
But these regulations only apply to employees – they do not apply to members of the public, for example, with regard temperature complaints from customers in a shopping centre or cinema.
The TUC also recommends bosses ensure that outdoor workers have sun-screen and water and are given advice on the need to protect themselves from the heat and sun allow staff to take frequent breaks and provide a ready supply of cool drinks.
In addition, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union has also been running a campaign, which aims of setting a maximum temperature of between 27 and 30 degrees for workers in its sector, called Cool It.
“It would place duties on employers to provide additional breaks free refreshments and to reduce workplace temperatures. We have had some workplaces recording temp at 90 degrees and above which clearly unacceptable,” said the union’s national president, Ian Hodson.
“We are looking at linking it to our campaign around the environment with a charter that will look at committing employers to ensure they control heat by looking at ways it can be turned into energy or example.
“We have noticed most of the senior managers where high temperatures occur have air conditioned offices and in there cars we think it’s time that workers where afforded the same basis working conditions,” added Mr Hodson.
When SHP met Louis Theroux…
The Safety & Health Podcast brings you the full recording of Louis Theroux’s keynote session at Safety & Health Expo.
Louis sat down with SHP Editor Ian Hart, in front of a packed Keynote Theatre audience, to discuss all things, from communicating effectively and working in hostile to health and health and wellbeing.