You may not be aware but at present, there is no statutory maximum temperature at which employers need to introduce control measures, such as breaks, access to water or air conditioning.
The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 suggests the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16⁰ C. If the work involves vigorous physical effort the temperature should be at least 13⁰ C.
The MP’s who tabled the EDM have argued that there should be a corresponding upper temperature limit, given that excessive heat in the workplace is responsible for heat stress and thermal discomfort, and can impact seriously on health, wellbeing and productivity.
We can all imagine the types of industries where the temperature rises to very high levels, even when the weather is not hot eg industrial catering kitchens and certain manufacturing industries.
The EDM calls for a maximum working temperature of 30⁰ C or 27⁰ C for those carrying out strenuous work, beyond which employers would have a statutory duty to introduce effective control measures. Measures might include reviewing times when people are working outdoors during hot weather, so that where possible outdoor work is being done in the morning or late afternoon, providing sufficient breaks away from the heat. Ensuring people working in high temperatures have access to chilled water at all times and relax dress codes where possible.
Watch this space - should this become part of the Workplace Regulations we will be sure to tell you.