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Unions call on bosses to ensure workers’ safety during impending heatwave

UNION leaders have called for Britain’s bosses to ensure that workers are kept safe in the coming days after weather forecasters warned of extreme heat on the way. 

The Met Office issued a new-style extreme heat warning for the first time this week, with temperatures in some parts of Britain set to peak at 33°C. 

The warning, which covers parts of Wales, all of south-west England and other areas in south and central England, will remain in place until Thursday. 

The TUC said that employers should give their staff the option of working from home and consider flexible working to avoid the worst of the conditions, as well as ensuring that workplaces are cool and dress codes can be temporarily altered. 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s even more important to use PPE safely in this hot weather. Staff will need extra breaks to cool down if their equipment reduces ventilation. 

“And while many offices have air conditioning, few people have it in their homes. Lots of staff are still working from home, so they may struggle to work during the hottest parts of the day.”

With there being no legal limit on minimum or maximum working temperatures, the TUC called for employers to be required to try to reduce temperatures exceeding 24°C. 

Bosses should also be obliged to provide sun protection and drinking water for people working outside, the TUC said, adding that  ministers must introduce a new maximum outdoor temperature of 30°C – 27°C for those doing strenuous work. 

“We all love the summer sun,” Ms O’Grady said, “but working in sweltering conditions in a baking shop or stifling office can be unbearable and dangerous.”


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