UK Heatwave: working in hot weather safely

Working in hot weather advice

Monday 23rd July became the hottest day of the year as Suffolk endured the temperature rise to a blistering 33.3ºC which meant working in hot weather became more grueling than ever. A joint warning from the NHS, Met office and Public Health England informed that the heatwave has a 90 per cent chance of remaining until 9am on Friday in most parts of the UK.

Therefore, a level 3 amber warning has been issued by the Met Office. The warning acts as an alert to health professionals that extreme temperatures are imminent which could affect the safety of the public. A Met Office spokeswoman also recommended to either:

“Stay out of the sun or be sensible and don’t go out in the strongest sunshine hours – 11am to 3pm.”

Working in hot weather

Businesses are being urged to relax dress codes and keep offices cool to help workers cope with the soaring temperatures. There are no restrictions for when the workplace becomes too hot. However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have been campaigning to change the law which would introduce a new maximum indoor temperature of 30ºC, or 27ºC for those doing strenuous jobs.

Working in hot weather can lead to heat stress. Typical symptoms to look out for are; an inability to concentrate, heat rash, severe thirst, fainting, fatigue, headaches and more severely, heat stroke. Therefore, prevention of heat stress in workers is important so identifying employees who are more susceptible to heat stress because of an illness, condition or medication can help.

Here are some important tips to bear in mind for this week’s sunshine:

  • If you have a dog, try to walk it in the morning or evening to avoid burning their paws on the tarmac.
  • Wear lightweight clothes in the workplace if possible.
  • Take short regular breaks from strenuous activities.
  • Keep your home and workplace as cool as possible – shading windows and shutting them during the day may help.
  • If you are aware of an elderly person living on their own who might be at special risk, make sure they know what to do.
  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water and make sure those around you are too.
  • Stay protected – Apply sun cream regularly throughout the day, wear a hat and don’t look directly into the sun.

What can your organisation do?

These helpful tips should hopefully make this summer a safe one. However, assigning relevant e-Learning courses provided by safety media can ensure an even safer summer for your employees.

“Health & Wellbeing”, “Hot Weather Conditions” and “Stress Management” are just some of the e-learning courses available as part of the Safety Media open license. If you’re not an existing Safety Media client feel free to find out how our software can benefit your employees by calling 01745 535000 or filling out our quick contact form.


The Guardian

Evening Standard

BBC News

Liked what you read? Follow and like us for more great content: