Govt committee proposes maximum workplace temperature laws

The Environmental Audit Committee has published a report recommending that the government consider instituting maximum workplace temperature requirements in response to recent heatwaves.

30 Jul 2018| News

The publication – Heatwaves: adapting to climate change – said this change to the law was particularly important for those who work in physically strenuous roles.

It also recommended that Public Health England should issue formal guidance to employers regarding appropriate dress codes and flexible working arrangements to help workers cope in hot weather.

The report found that five million staff days were lost in 2010 due to workplaces rising above 26°C, resulting in economic losses of £770 million. This situation is likely to worsen, it said, as heatwaves in Europe are now ten times more likely than they were in the early 2000s.

The TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, welcomed the recommendations, saying: “The law only gives minimum working temperatures, but the hot summer we’re having has shown the need for a maximum limit too. It’s great to have support from MPs for this commonsense policy, and we hope the government will take quick action.”

The TUC had previously issued its own recommendations for a maximum workplace temperature of 30°C, or 27°C for those in strenuous jobs, with an additional duty on employers to begin actively cooling the workplace when it reached 24°C.