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High Temperatures, High Stakes
High Temperatures, High Stakes
06 August 2018

We’re hot on the heels of one our most humid summers yet, with temperatures scorching into the 30’s. Whether out on site or even indoors, workers have all faced the extreme heatwave. Where the potential problem lies is how high these temperatures are reaching, and how much they are affecting a worker’s ability to perform. 

Thanks to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, there is a minimum workplace temperature of 16 degrees required. On the other hand, there is no set maximum temperature. Due to this ambiguous ruling, the consensus is subsequently based on indoor temperature being ‘reasonable’. It is then up to an employer to implement procedures to ensure workers are comfortable – examining factors such as air movement, humidity and dress code. 

In soaring temperatures, employers should initially analyse building design. The steps involved include insulating hot pipes, providing air-cooling plants, shading windows and ensuring desk and workstations are kept away from radiant heat. 

If these steps are not enough to keep employees comfortable, a hot tip is to employ local cooling via fans and increased ventilation. This also applies to other rooms including changing rooms, storerooms as well as toilet and shower facilities. 

Without these essentials, workers are at risk of exhaustion, dehydration, fatigue and dizziness. Anyone who is suffering any of these symptoms should immediately stop their work and tell their superior, take a drink, and seek medical attention. 

General employee satisfaction is also a burning topic. It’s not uncommon for employees in their numbers to seek annual leave during this hotter period, and managers are faced with having to balance a stable business workflow and keeping employees happy. As long as a fair and flexible system is in place, employers must be vigilant in their allowances, whilst also being reasonable and non-discriminatory. 

Uniform must also be considered. In summer, employers should think about relaxing the dress code too. If employees are comfortable in their attire, their productivity is improved for the better. 

If these tips are ultimately followed, employers can then create a comfortable atmosphere that isn’t too hot to handle.