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13th Jul 2022

You might soon be able to stop working if your office gets too hot as MPs table motion

April Curtin

Looking down from above, we see young men who are open-chested and with their suit jackets either beneath their heads or on the grass, three office co-workers stretch out over the lush grass and sunbathe during a hot summer lunchtime in Trinity Square in the City of London, England. One has his paperwork under his head and a can of Coke to quench his thirst. Already tanned, the threesome bask under a hot mid-day sun. Risking sunburn after prolonged solar radiation exposure, they enjoy the inner-city heatwave. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Under the plan the maximum temperature would be 30C

Brits could be entitled to stop working if it gets too hot under new measures MPs are pushing to be introduced.

A maximum temperature of 30C would be the limit in most workplaces, or 27C for those doing strenuous work.

Employers would have a legal duty to introduce “effective control measures”, such as installing ventilation or moving staff away from windows and sources of heat, under the proposals, tabled in the House of Commons by Labour MP Ian Mearns.

Thirty-seven MPs have signed a motion in support of the plan, in a bid to stop workers suffering from tiredness, infections, heat stroke, or death.

The news comes as a heatwave continues to engulf the UK, and as the Met Office extended an amber weather warning for extreme heat from Sunday to Tuesday.

The weather forecaster has said that “population-wide adverse health effects” are likely to be experienced, not limited to those most vulnerable to extreme heat, and leading to potential serious illness or danger to life. Highs of 34C are forecast in London on Tuesday – around the time that the hot spell is likely to peak.

The early day motion (EDM) by MPs states: “That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of their top concerns.

“(It) regrets that workers in the UK have no guaranteed legal safeguards from working in uncomfortable high temperatures, and that the consequences of this range from dizziness, tiredness, asthma, throat infections and, in extreme cases, heat stroke and death.

“(It) insists that without recognised law, current recommendations for employers to maintain a reasonable temperature within the workplace are impossible to enforce unless a worker is seriously insured or killed from heat stress.”

The EDM goes on to call for a maximum working temperature of 30C to be put in place, or 27C “for those doing strenuous work, beyond which employers would have a statutory duty to introduce effective control measures.”

In England, there are 2000 heat-related deaths on average every year, according to the NHS.

Keeping out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, applying suncream regularly, avoiding alcohol and taking water wherever you go are some of the tips the organisation has shared in a bid to keep Brits safe.

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