Heatwave quick tips:
It's also important to cover off what employers need to do now, in the absence of new legislation, which really we won't see for quite some time if at all.
Employees are not automatically entitled to a day off work even in an extreme heatwave, however employers need be mindful of their duty of care to employees to provide, as far as reasonably practical, a safe working environment without risks to health.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations of 1992 do not state a temperature, but say that temperature conditions must be ‘reasonable’.
Allowances that employers should consider making in the extreme heat include; agreeing to employees’ requests to work from home so that they can avoid public transport, allowing them to have more frequent rest breaks, ensuring workplaces are well ventilated and educating employees about the early signs of heat stroke and how it can be avoided.
For those employees who work outdoors doing strenuous jobs, employers should consider providing them with access to shaded areas to rest and free chilled drinking water. It may also be appropriate to reschedule work where possible so that it can be carried out at cooler times of the day.
Rhona Darbyshire is partner and head of the employment team at law firm Cripps