A man who is too hot, trying to cool down in front of a fan

Taking precautions against exposure to sun and heat during the summer months is essential as an outdoor employee.

Fortunately, in the UK, we are not often faced with excessively hot temperatures that impede work. However, as global temperatures have steadily increased over time, the frequency of heatwaves and hot summers has risen. Consequently, working conditions have become more challenging.

Employers often argue that they have limited control over outdoor temperatures, unlike indoor settings where measures such as fans and air conditioning can be utilized. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that countless outdoor workers face numerous health risks every summer, including skin cancer, dehydration, and heat-related stress. Additionally, working in hot conditions can contribute to fatigue and reduced concentration, thereby increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Is there a legal maximum working temperature?

There is no legal minimum or maximum working temperature in the UK. The HSE states, “Individual personal preference makes it difficult to specify a thermal environment which satisfies everyone.” Meaning that it can be difficult to dictate the right temperature for a specific work area and for an individual.

Nevertheless, employers are legally obligated to ensure the health and safety of their employees, which encompasses addressing potential risks arising from the work environment, including excessive heat.

Employers need to take responsibility

Employers should take proactive measures rather than burdening their workers with the sole responsibility of protecting themselves. It is essential for employers to conduct thorough risk assessments that encompass potential hazards. By doing so, employers can prioritize the well-being of their employees and create a safer working environment.

Here are some simple, yet essential tips for working outdoors in the summer months:

Click here to download our ‘Playing It Safe In The Summer Heat’ document