Metro Mayor Dan Norris is urging West of England employers to make sure their staff are protected from the sun and heat as the Met Office issued its first ever red alert for hot weather.

A red warning for extreme heat in the West of England has been issued for Monday and Tuesday, meaning there is a “very likely” risk to life. In another first, England’s heat-health alert has been upgraded to Level 4, a national emergency warning that a jump in heat-related casualties is likely.

The Mayor, who is responsible for jobs and enterprise, is calling on local companies to put in place measures to protect workers such as providing sunscreen and keeping workplace buildings cool as well as allowing working from home where possible. The Mayor has also renewed his call for a maximum workplace temperature of 30C to be set to protect workers. When temperatures plunge below 16C, workers have a right to go home, but there is no law on maximum temperature limits.

Working in hot weather can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, fainting, and – in extreme cases – heatstroke and death. Outdoor workers are three times more likely to develop skin cancer.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “The situation is critical. While many of us enjoy the hot weather, we know that working in scorching conditions without proper protections in place can be really dangerous for workers. We need employers to protect their employees, including keeping workplaces cool, ensuring everyone stays hydrated, giving workers who can the choice to work from home while it is hot, and providing plenty of sunscreen for outdoors workers who we know are particularly vulnerable to prolonged sun exposure”.

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