Earlier this month there was an article in the Bolton News about my efforts in Parliament to highlight the need for a maximum workplace temperature.
You can read that story here – http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/15508857.Call_to_introduce_legal_maximum_working_temperature/
One of the common questions in response was, why is this important?
I understand that for most people this isn’t really an issue. Most places of employment are set up so that even at the hottest times of year they’re comfortable enough for you to do your job.
In workplaces such as bakeries, foundries and smelting plants heat stress is a real risk every day. Lots of employers take precautions and do things the right way, but some don’t and they won’t until they have to.
Despite the risk to employees the lack of clear guidance on this makes it incredibly hard for health and safety representatives to hold employers to account.
Heat can lead to a loss of concentration and increased tiredness, which means that workers are more likely to put themselves or others at risk. Heat can also aggravate other medical conditions and illnesses such as high blood pressure or heart disease due to increased load on the heart as well as interacting with, or increasing the effect of other workplace hazards.
If people get too hot, they risk dizziness, fainting, or even heat cramps. In very hot conditions the body’s blood temperature rises. If the blood temperature rises above 39 °C, there is a risk of heat stroke or collapse. Delirium or confusion can occur above 41°C. Blood temperatures at this level can prove fatal and even if a worker does recover, they may suffer irreparable organ damage.
We have clear guidance about low temperatures in the workplace. The same clarity for maximum temperatures could save lives.
As well as supporting EDM 56 in Parliament I have raised some questions with Government Ministers on this issue. You can see these below.