Is it too hot to legally work? What can employees do?
Is it too hot to legally work?
As the UK faces a heatwave of temperatures set to rise to 38 degrees and some parts of the UK is to be hotter than the Bahamas and Maldives - it asks the question when is it too hot to work?
Can you tell your employers that it is too hot to work?
The law does not state what temperature it is too hot to work, the Health and Safety Executive guidance does give advice on what should be the minimum temperature to work which is 16 degrees or of the job involves physical exertion then it can be 13 degrees. However, there is no guidance when it is too hot to work.
Vaishali Thakerar, Employment Director and Solicitor at Lawson West Solicitors has said that employers should however consider what is reasonable as they have a duty of care to their employees in the office. Some places of work such as factories can get extremely hot due to the nature of work undertaken.
What are your rights in the workplace?
Employers are under an obligation to carry out assessments of the workplace in order to ascertain whether they have acted reasonably, due to having a duty of care towards their employees. Government guidance does state that the temperature at work should be at a comfortable level and that there should be clean and fresh air.
Employees who are pregnant may struggle in the heat and employers owe a duty of care to them, and failure to carry out a risk assessment or make adjustments, could amount to pregnancy discrimination. In addition, those employees who have a disability may require reasonable adjustments, and again employers are under an obligation to consider these and make the necessary amendments to the role in order for the employee to be able to work.
If your employer has made no communication to employees about their approach to hot weather working, you are legally within your rights to ask for clarification.
Lawson-West Solicitors has large employment law team, you can Contact Us here, for any advice you may need about your employment situation.