How to deal with a heatwave – advice for employers

01 July 2015 by
How to deal with a heatwave – advice for employers

Today is the hottest day of the year so far with soaring temperatures already reaching 36°C in some areas of the UK.

With the heatwave - on what could also be the hottest day in a decade - come several health warnings and tips to help you keep cool.

The workplace Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has launched new guidance today to help employers manage challenges in the workplace caused by the hot weather.

Acas head of guidance Stewart Gee said: "Certain workers may be adversely affected by the extreme heat such as pregnant women, elderly employees and Muslim staff that are currently fasting during Ramadan.

"Our new advice published today offers some top tips for employers to help ensure their businesses remain productive during the heatwave whilst keeping staff happy too."

Acas top tips for hot weather include:

  • Workplace temperatures should be reasonable
  • 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 to 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.
  • Fasting during hot weather - many Muslims are currently observing Ramadan and fasting during the daylight hours. This includes not eating food or drinking liquids. Employers may help by holding meetings in the morning when energy levels are higher or consider a temporary change in working hours.

If you can't stand the heat: chefs' top five ways to keep cool >>

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