Mayor Dan Norris has issued a fresh plea to West of England bosses to step up to protect their workers during scorching hot weather periods – like those seen this week, and beyond.
The Mayor’s warning was issued in response to the UK Health Security Agency heat-health alert for most parts of England, including the West, which will stay in place until 9pm this Sunday.
The West of England soaked in sunshine at the weekend and, following a miserable summer, the Met Office is predicting the heat and sunshine will stay as temperatures ramp up to 29C in places like Bristol and Keynsham later this week.
Mayor Norris, who runs the West of England Good Employment Charter, said it was time for more employers to do the right thing by their staff to protect them from the heat, in calls backed by firms right across the region. Although there’s no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, Mr Norris is calling on more companies in the region to be responsible.
He pointed out that working in extreme heat can lead to dehydration, muscle cramps, nausea, rashes, fainting, and – in extreme cases – loss of consciousness, convulsions or seizures.
Outdoor workers are three times more likely to develop skin cancer, he added.
He is once again calling on employers to do things like allow flexible working with different start and finish times, and have an open discussion with staff on hot days to manage risks better. His five-point plan has been backed by big West firms, including Artemis Clarke and Visit West.
Every year, around 2,000 people die in the UK from heat-related conditions – a number that could triple by 2050 due to climate change.
Mayor Dan Norris said: “While many will welcome the sun after what feels like a washout summer, the truth is working in scorching conditions – whether that’s in a baking office, or outdoors in the direct sun – without proper protections in place can be really dangerous for workers.
“That’s why I’m calling on employers to do the right thing by their employees. That means things like ensuring everyone on site stays hydrated and giving workers the choice to work from home while it is hot. That’s vital to keep workplaces safe, and workers at their best.”
The Metro Mayor’s five-point plan for employers to protect workers during hot weather:
- Allowing flexible working with different start and finish times, and the chance for workers to work from home where possible and appropriate;
- Giving staff frequent breaks, and providing a supply of drinks;
- Keeping workplaces cool, and moving staff away from windows;
- Providing sun protection for those working outside and
- Temporarily relaxing workplace dress codes.