You might be able to go home if your office gets too hot

·2-min read

The UK is a sweaty mess right now, and the temperature is only set to rise – with some places forecast to reach 37 degrees next week! It's no wonder then that we're all desperate to do anything we can to cool down, like following TikTok hacks to make our fan feel colder and Googling: 'Is it a good idea to sleep naked in a heatwave?'

But, whilst there's a lot we can do from home to help beat the heat – like camera-off Zoom meetings in our underwear – the same can't be said for the days we're actually in the office, which can be a particular nightmare if you have to commute on public transport and/or if your place of work doesn't have any air-conditioning. Thankfully, it seems the days of sweating yourself silly in the office may be numbered, as MPs are currently voting to change the law on what temperature is too hot when you're at work.

Given the dangerous impact that hot weather can have – such as heatstroke, exhaustion and tiredness – MPs have put forward the idea of setting a 30 degree limit for most workplaces, or 27 degrees for those doing more strenuous work. Under their proposal, employers would have a legal duty to bring in "effective control measures", which could include installing adequate ventilation.

Photo credit: Diego Cervo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Diego Cervo - Getty Images

So far, 37 MPs have signed their support of the motion, which was tabled in the House of Commons by Labour's Ian Mearns following the Met Office's warning that some people are at risk of serious illness or death as a result of the heatwave.

"This House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of their top concerns; regrets that workers in the UK have no guaranteed legal safeguards from working in uncomfortable high temperatures, and that the consequences of this range from dizziness, tiredness, asthma, throat infections and, in extreme cases, heat stroke and death," the motion states.

"[This House] insists that without recognised law, current recommendations for employers to maintain a reasonable temperature within the workplace are impossible to enforce unless a worker is seriously insured or killed from heat stress; and calls on the Government to introduce legislative proposals to ensure a maximum working temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, or 27 degrees Celsius for those doing strenuous work, beyond which employers would have a statutory duty to introduce effective control measures, such as installing ventilation or moving staff away from windows and sources of heat."

Fingers crossed then, eh!?

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