5th February 2025
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UK Employment Law: Protecting employees in hot weather working conditions

It’s hot out there right now. As the temperature rises during the summer months, employers are usually reminded of their responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of their employees. UK employment law provides guidance on how employers should handle hot weather working conditions to protect their workers from potential heat-related risks. We explore the key considerations and obligations that aim to assist employers in navigating hot weather working conditions…

  1. Duty of Care

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a legal duty of care to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. This includes taking appropriate measures to address the risks associated with working in hot weather conditions. Employers should conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement suitable controls to manage the risks.

  1. Temperature Control

UK employment law does not specify a maximum temperature threshold for working conditions. However, employers are expected to maintain a reasonable working temperature. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 stipulate that workplace temperatures should be “reasonable” and take into account factors such as the nature of the work being carried out, level of physical activity, and local environmental conditions.

  1. Adequate Ventilation and Cooling

Employers should ensure that workplaces have adequate ventilation to maintain a comfortable working environment. This may include providing fans, air conditioning systems, or natural ventilation options. Employers should regularly maintain and service cooling equipment to ensure its effective operation during hot weather periods.

  1. Rest Breaks and Hydration

During hot weather, employers should consider providing additional rest breaks to allow employees to cool down and hydrate. The Working Time Regulations 1998 stipulate that employees are entitled to regular rest breaks, and employers should take into account the impact of hot weather on employees’ well-being when determining the frequency and duration of breaks.

  1. Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers should review the suitability of personal protective equipment (PPE) during hot weather conditions. In some cases, it may be necessary to modify or replace PPE to ensure it does not exacerbate the risk of heat-related illnesses. Employers should consult with employees and provide suitable alternatives or modifications where necessary.

  1. Employee Communication and Training

Employers should communicate with their employees regarding hot weather working conditions and the measures in place to manage associated risks. This includes providing information on recognizing the signs of heat-related illnesses, promoting the importance of hydration, and encouraging employees to report any concerns or symptoms promptly. Training sessions or informational materials can help raise awareness and educate employees about staying safe in hot weather.

UK employment law provides clear guidance to employers on managing hot weather working conditions to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of their employees. By conducting risk assessments, maintaining reasonable temperatures, providing adequate ventilation, allowing rest breaks, and promoting hydration, employers can create a safe working environment even during hot weather periods.


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