With the UK forecast to swelter during a hot, dry summer this year, the TUC has called for the introduction of a legal upper limit on workplace temperature.
While employees are not expected to work when the temperature drops below 16oC (or 13ºC if they do physically demanding work), there are no similar restrictions for when the workplace becomes too hot, the union body has pointed out.
It has said the law should be changed so that employers are forced to act when the temperature inside hits 24oC, and that staff could be sent home and their employers prosecuted if it soared to 30oC (or 27oC for those engaged in physically demanding work).
When temperatures reach these levels in the workplace, employees can suffer heat rashes, headaches, dizzy spells, fainting and heat cramps, it added. It also affects their concentration, making workers more likely to endanger their own or their colleagues’ safety.