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Britain is set to endure its hottest day on record next week with forecasted and unprecedented highs of up to 41C (106F) on Monday and Tuesday. The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning, schools are planning to close and rail services are likely to be disrupted.

Maximum workplace temperatures

Contrary to popular belief, there are no laws that govern the temperate of a workplace, for a maximum temperature or when it is too hot to work.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, a workplace should be at least 16C or 13C if the work is mostly physical, but there is no upper or maximum limit.

HSE guidance states that a workplace temperature must be “reasonable” with “clean and fresh air”. There are six basic factors which usually cause discomfort.

If the workplace is too warm, you should consider whether you can:

  • increase air movement by ventilation or air conditioning

  • humidify or dehumidify the air as required

  • restrict the length of time that employees are exposed to hot conditions or control the amount of work and rate of work employees are expected to do

  • introduce mechanical aids (eg lifting aids or power tools) to assist physically demanding jobs in warm and hot environments or when employees are wearing a lot of clothing

  • evaluate dress code and allow employees to adapt their clothing where possible

  • provide cool-down areas

  • provide personal fans

  • allow employees to adjust thermostats or open windows as appropriate

Requests to leave early

If staff request to leave early then, whilst you are not obliged to, you may seek to agree with each employee whether to:

(a) take the time as annual leave;

(b) make up the lost time at a later date;

(c) take unpaid leave; or

(d) work remotely if this is possible.

Adverse Weather and Travel Disruption Policy

For our retained clients, our Adverse Weather and Travel Disruption Policy is available from the Greystone HR Portal for your consideration.


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