MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee say Public Health England should issue “formal guidance” allowing remote working and cooler clothing to be worn in the workplace when temperatures soar. The MPs’ new report found Britain’s workplaces are poorly equipped to cope with heatwaves, putting employees’ health at risk and harming productivity.
Crucial to regulating the better management of heatwaves in the future will be agreeing to a “maximum” workplace temperature.
The Health and Safety Executive currently sets 16C as a minimum safe temperature, below which staff should not be expected to come into work, but says a “meaningful” upper figure cannot be set. However, the committee called on ministers to overrule the agency by establishing an upper threshold, which could give workers legal protection for staying at home.
Could employers do more right now, to help staff stay productive during the heatwave?