Acas issues tips for employers to manage the hot weather at work

Workplace expert, Acas, has offered some top tips to help employers manage workplace challenges due to the hot weather.

The Met Office has forecast temperatures of 32C likely across parts of the South and South East, with the highest temperature of the year possible.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

"The sizzling weather is unusual for September and some staff may be uncomfortable working through one of the hottest weeks of the year. 
"Certain workers may be adversely affected such as pregnant women and elderly employees. The heat can also impact public transport too which can affect employees commuting into work. 
"Acas has some top tips for employers to help ensure their businesses remain productive during the heatwave whilst keeping staff happy too."

Acas top tips

Acas has some top tips for hot weather working.

Workplace temperatures should be reasonable

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice is that the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings must be reasonable. The Health and Safety Executive offers advice on how to carry out a thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature.

Keeping cool at work

Switch on any fans or air conditioners to keep workplaces comfortable and use blinds or curtains to block out sunlight. Staff working outside should wear appropriate clothes and use sunscreen to protect from sunburn.

Stay hydrated

Employers must provide staff with suitable drinking water in the workplace. Workers should drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and not wait until they are thirsty.

Dress code

Employers are not under any obligation to relax their uniform or dress code requirements during hot weather but where possible it may be advisable for employers to relax the rules for wearing ties or suits.

Getting into work

If public transport gets adversely affected by the hot weather, this could affect staff attendance and their ability to get into work on time. Staff should check timetables in advance.

Vulnerable workers

Some workers may be more adversely affected by the hot weather such as the elderly, pregnant women or those on medication. Employers may wish to give them more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans or portable air cooling units.

People who work from home

Where arrangements for working from home are in place, employers may wish to offer more flexibility to their workers during hot weather so that staff can choose to work in whichever environment they find the most productive.

It is always important to ensure staff who work from home keep in contact with their employer during working hours and keeping channels open will ensure employers can act swiftly and effectively to manage any heat concerns.

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