Summer is finally here!
Famous last words…. And as it becomes hotter, it brings a range of issues for employers, office temperature, inappropriate dress code as well being a sun safe employer. Whether your employees are working in the office or outside on site, we have a few tips that may make the summer more bearable for you.
Should your employees work outside in the summer sun there are a few things that you can do to help your employees protect themselves, whilst giving you the benefits of fewer absences for example due to sunburn or heatstroke. giving them this advice could reduce the risk to employees in relation to skin cancer from long term exposure to the sun.
What can I do?
- Encourage workers to take their breaks in the shade
- Have rest areas in the shade and access to drinking water
- Keep workers informed on sun exposure – Health and Safety Executive have a leaflet that can be made available to all of your employees. Click on the link provided – HSE leaflet
Temperature in the office
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1992 (SI 1992/3004) states that during working hours the temperature in all workplaces (inside buildings) should be reasonable. But what is reasonable? Unlike minimum temperature, the regulations don’t provide a maximum workplace temperature, although the Health and Safety Executive guidance states that the acceptable temperature range is between 16°c and 30°c (unless much of the work involves severe physical effort in which case the temperature should be at least 13°c).
You won’t be able to get the perfect temperature and keep everyone happy as there will always be air con wars! But here are a few tips that may help keep the peace.
- Relax the dress code in hot weather – for further guidance see below
- Fans – if there isn’t air conditioning these can help to keep the temperature more comfortable
- Ice lollies – everyone loves a treat in hot weather
- Blinds – it might be nice to have the sun in the office but keeping blinds shut will help keep the temperature down
- Flexible working – letting employees flex their hours in the heat for example starting earlier when the office is cooler and leaving early (lets them enjoy the weather too)
Employees will appreciate being given more flexibility in what they wear in the heat as everyone works better if they feel comfortable. However, wearing the wrong outfit can negatively affect the business image and give the wrong impression to customers / clients and even work colleagues.
If you do provide some flexible to employees, ensure that you provide some guidelines to help avoid disputes – for example
- T-shirts – no explicit logos or wording
- No mini-skirts or excessively short shorts
- No flip flops
- Consider Health and Safety implications i.e. PPE, food hygiene settings
Having a policy or a section in your handbook on dress and appearance is a good way of setting expectations so that everyone is aware of what is acceptable.
If we can assist in drafting a policy or even a handbook let us know.