Unions: workplaces must make adjustments for hats and sunscreen
The GMB union, which represents more than 500,000 workers, has demanded that a legal maximum temperature be imposed in all working environments and has suggested that if bosses fail to provide sufficiently cool conditions, workers should step down .
They also called for “workplace accommodations,” such as hats, sunscreen, protective clothing, flexible dress codes, extra breaks, flexible work and travel hours, air conditioning and access to water.
Currently temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which imposes a legal duty on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature at the workplace of work. This is often interpreted as being at least 16C.
However, there is no legal maximum temperature. As a result, unions are warning that ‘workers need protection from soaring temperatures’ and that a legal maximum temperature of 25C should be imposed nationwide as the record-breaking heatwave is set to hit the Kingdom -United.
Unions TUC and Unite have previously called for the introduction of a maximum indoor working temperature of 30C – with the upper limit dropping to 27C if employees are doing heavy work. However, the GMB limit of 25C is the first time unions have called for such a low limit.