Unite national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel said: “Unite is pressing for a maximum temperature for safe working of 27 degrees Celsius for strenuous jobs and 30 degrees Celsius for sedentary jobs, and a trigger of 24 degrees Celsius where action should be taken to reduce temperatures indoors and strict protection measures put in place for outdoor workers.

As the climate changes, it is vital that health and safety law is updated in line with the serious challenges this presents for workers. We urge the government to get a move on with this so that there can be no ambiguities in the workplace. 

In the meantime, employers have a legal and moral duty to ensure workers’ health is not damaged during the current hot weather. 

Employers should be increasing the frequency and length of rest periods, while also ensuring that workers have free access to cool drinking water at all times.”


Notes to editors: 

Unite’s health and safety reps advise employers and workers that:

  • Indoor workplaces should be adequately ventilated so they remove and dilute warm and humid air

  • Manual workers who work outside or in confined conditions are at particular risk and are vulnerable to heat exhaustion, employers should consider rescheduling work at cooler times of the day and provide cooling area’s such as shade or air-conditioned rest rooms

  • Where workers are operating in direct sunlight, employers should attempt to place a cover over the work area.

  • Halt work altogether under extreme conditions

Unite’s briefing to workplace reps on working during the heatwave is available here

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected] 

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.