Bid to cap workplace temperatures

19 Jul 2013

MPs are trying to push through a law that would require workers to be sent home if places get hotter than 30C.

The move comes amid the current heatwave, with many parts of the country seeing temperatures hit 32C.

An early-day motion by Labour MP Linda Riordan said employees in workplaces ranging from industrial bakeries to school classrooms are often subjected to temperatures which can "impact seriously on their health and well-being".

There is no maximum temperature for workplaces, although there is a minimum of 16C - or 13C if the work involves severe physical effort. The TUC has called for a maximum workplace temperature which the early-day motion has suggested making law.

The Halifax MP said ministers should "resolve uncertainty" for employers about their duty to combat excessive heat in the workplace by introducing a maximum working workplace temperature of 30C (86F) and of 27C (81F) for those doing "strenuous work".

Ms Riordan said possible consequence of overheated workplaces include "discomfort, stress, irritability and headaches... extra strain on the heart and lungs, dizziness and fainting and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt". She also claimed the resulting reduction in alertness and attention spans could contribute to accidents and fatalities in the workplace.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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