Hot weather at work

A Heat-Health Alert affecting many regions in England has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency, including one covering Salford. There is no legal maximum for workplace temperature, but employers are under a duty to ensure the workplace is safe, and heat is classed as a hazard. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued advice for employers on measures that should be taken to protect workers, both inside and outside.

There is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces but the regulator is calling on employers to be responsible.

The HSE saw a surge in people seeking advice during summer 2022 โ€“ with visits to its online hot weather working guidance increasing by nearly a thousand percent and the number of concerns relating to hot weather reported to HSE almost doubling in July, when temperatures exceeded 40 degrees for the first time in history.

Employers must assess risks to the health and safety of their workers by law, including risks from extreme weather such as heat waves. While there is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, heat is classed as a hazard and should be treated like other hazards.

The HSE says everyone โ€“ whether working indoors or outdoors โ€“ is at risk and employers should discuss with workers changes to manage the risk.

The HSE is asking employers to consider simple and cheap measures such as:

  • Making sure workplace windows can be opened or closed to prevent hot air from circulating or building up.
  • Using blinds or reflective film on workplace windows to shade workers from the sun.
  • Placing workstations away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Putting insulation around hot pipes and machinery.
  • Offering flexible working patterns so workers can work at cooler times of the day.
  • Provide free access to drinking water.
  • Relaxing dress codes if possible.
  • Providing weather-appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Encouraging workers to remove personal protective equipment when resting (ideally in shaded areas) to cool off.
  • Sharing information about the symptoms of heat stress and what to do if someone is affected.

You can get more information from the HSE website at

If you are a member of a union, it is also worth speaking to your union.


Tom Togher

June 16, 2023.