A new report has recommend that UK workers “should get the day off” if the workplace gets hotter than 30C.
Britain’s oldest political think tank, The Fabian Society, has suggested the government impose new legislation as temperatures continue to rise.
The report highlights the fact that while other countries such as Germany and Spain have clear health and safety at work rules, the UK only adopts a minimum legal temperature for indoor workplaces with employers only required to make sure work temperatures inside are “reasonable”.
In the report the organisation calls for the government to introduce a “specific” maximum indoor working temperature law.
The law would include the ability to “withdraw labour” should the workplace temperatures surpass 30C or 27C for those doing “strenuous work”.
The report comes after parts of Scotland reached highs of 34.8C during heatwave earlier this year – the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.
Temperatures also reached record highs of 40.3C in England with an estimated 2,985 excess deaths around the same period.
The report calls for the responsibility to fall on employers, stating that they should allow for a “reasonable temporary” relaxation of dress codes as well as provision of water and more regular breaks.
For outdoor workers, the report states the new rules should also include a responsibility to provide protective equipment from the heat and high factor sunscreen.
“Work with unions to launch an awareness campaign of all new and existing rules, rights and regulations around working in extreme weather,” the report states.
The think tank has also called on the government to work with the NHS to pilot a series of ‘Keep Cool, Keep Well’ leaflets, sent to households identified as being at high risk from extreme heat.
This plan would draw on the current NHS campaign of “Keep Warm Keep Well” leaflets currently sent to vulnerable groups in winter using NHS data.
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