MPs Propose Maximum Working Temperature

Early Day Motion proposes that workers go home when the temperature hits 30°C

30 degrees in the workplaceAn Early Day Motion in the House of Commons has recommended a legal maximum working temperature.

Currently the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that the temperature in a workplace should be "comfortable" and provides recommended minijum temperature levels.

The regulations suggest that 16°C is the recommended level for sedentary workers and 13°C for active workers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that the optimal operating temeprature for humans is between 16°C and 24°C.

There is currently no maximum working temperature in this country and, in recent weeks, the heatwave in the UK has sent temperatures soaring.

EDM 414, tabled by Labour MP, Linda Riordan, proposes that employees doing physical work shold be sent home when the temperature reaches 27°C and other workers, at desks for instance, should be able to leave their workplace if the temperature reaches 30°C.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has also called for this absolute maximum temperature and suggests that employers should still be working to reduce temperatures over 24°C.

The Early Day Motion poses the risks of hot workplaces as being detrimental to health with effects ranging from discomfort and stress, irritability and headaches to heart and lung conditions, affects on attention and a reduction in the effectivemess of cognitive functions. All these add up to a risk of serious accidents or even fatalities, says the EDM.

The EDM, so far signed by 29 MPs, mentions not just workplaces that are expected to be hot, such as industrial bakeries, but also classrooms too.

The Labour MPs point out that the TUC has adopted the maximum temperature policy and that adoption on a wider scale would help to "resolve uncertinaty".

For guidance on helping your staff to stay cool read the Heat Stress in the Workplace article.

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