At Winter & Company Health & Safety we believe in keeping you up to date, informed and advised in good time…
The Met Office has issued a severe “heat wave warning” for the week, which has potentially serious implications for both employer and employee.
While generally there is no upper temperature limit applicable to the working environment, employers are strongly advised to take into account the legal requirement in that “all reasonably foreseeable hazards should be acted upon in order to ensure that no harm occurs to their employees”.
The Met Office warning should therefore be considered as reasonably foreseeable and should therefore be acted upon.
By simply following the advice given, you will be adhering to these requirements and further satisfying your duty of care.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q/. Is there an upper temperature limit applicable to the working environment?
A/. No, not unless the work process is the heat source (catering, manufacturing, etc.) in which case a suitable ventilation/exhaust system must be employed.
Q/. Is air conditioning a legal requirement?
A/. No. If you do not have air conditioning, open as many windows as possible to ensure adequate air flow throughout the working environment.
Q/. Can employees demand to leave work as a consequence of the envisaged heat wave?
A/. Generally no unless a relevant health issue affects the personal health, safety and welfare of the employee.
Q/. What are the relevant medical conditions?
A/. Asthma, diabetes, photo sensitive epilepsy, heavily pregnant women, angina and various other medical conditions that may be triggered by excessive climatic conditions.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID?
WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS?
The Health & Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Workplace (Health Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992
This advisory is not an exhaustive list of hazards nor control measures. Employers, employees and the self-employed should satisfy themselves that all reasonably foreseeable measures should be considered and actioned accordingly.
Winter & Company offers specialist consultation on the full spectrum of health and safety issues affecting businesses and employees in the UK.
It is headed by Mitchell Winter TechSP (Technician Safety Practitioner) of The Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH).