Too hot to work in the heatwave? You’re not alone.
Temperatures are predicted to hit a record high and could reach a scorching 39C today.
And as many of us are working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, we don’t have access to office air con.
Many of us feel hot and bothered and would rather not be working today – and thankfully, there are guidelines in place for when this happens.
The Health and Safety Executive, which provides the regulatory framework for work place health and safety in Britain, said: “The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment.
“Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that: During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.”
Employers also have to provide “clean, fresh air” as well as keep temperatures at a comfortable level.
This is also the case for employees who work from home.
Mike Hibbs, employment partner at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, told the Mirror : “The fact that many employees are still working from home does not mean that employers can suddenly forget their health and safety responsibilities.
“All the usual rules apply, including the need to risk assess homes as suitable working environments.”
He added: “In the workplace, employers usually rely on air conditioning and ventilation to regulate temperatures.
“However, at home many employees may not have this option and their only means of keeping cool will be to open windows.”
Open windows can create more problems than it solves depending on your work.
“The potential for disturbance by noisy neighbours and street noise can make this impractical, especially if their work involves making telephone or video calls,” Hibbs said.
And that means, if you can’t get somewhere cool to work from, your boss can’t keep you there.
Hibbs added: “Ultimately, employee safety should always be an employer’s top priority and they cannot force staff to work if temperature and noise levels prohibit them from doing so.
“Certain disabilities, such as COPD and arthritis, also make working in high temperatures particularly difficult, so considering any reasonable adjustments that need to be made to help them do their jobs safely is vital.”