Technically speaking, summer is almost over, but this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities as an employer are over as well. Summer will come again next year, and the next, and the next … and as an employer, you do have certain responsibilities to your employees when the hot season arrives. It’s important to ensure that your employees are adequately protected during the hot summer season, and by not doing so, you could be liable to the filing of a grievance from your employees. So what precisely are your responsibilities as an employer during the summer? Here’s what you should know.
The reasons why it’s important to address summer issues
Everyone loves spending time in the sun, especially here in the UK where constantly dealing with rain is a way of life. But those who have to work in uncomfortably hot conditions may think otherwise. As an employer, you are tasked to make sure that your employees are comfortable and safe whilst they are working. If your employees are unsafe and uncomfortable in their workplace environment, this could result in less productivity and efficiency, and the health of your employees may even suffer. It would be an easy matter for employees to file a grievance against the company because they are hot, uncomfortable, and unsafe – and you wouldn’t want this to happen, either. Dealing with grievances is difficult, especially if the grievance is geared towards the company itself. An investigation will most likely be done, and this comes with interviews which have to be recorded and transcribed by transcription services UK companies such as Alphabet Secretarial provide, if you want the investigation to be done in the proper way.
Before it gets to this, here are some actions you should take according to the Health and Safety Executive:
- Provide employees with adequate air cooling or air conditioning
- Provide employees with fans, such as pedestal, desk, or ceiling fans
- Place materials for insulation around pipes and hot plants
- Make sure that windows in the workplace have the option to be opened
- Shade employees from the sun by installing blinds or reflective film
- Place workstations in different areas, away from sunlight or objects which can radiate heat, such as machinery and plant equipment
- Provide facilities such as dispensers for cold water
- Introduce flexible work options during the summer, such as working from home, working during hours with less intense heat, working at a different workstation, etc.
- Give ample breaks so employees can cool themselves down and get hydrated
- Allow a more relaxed dress code in the workplace, as long as you make sure that personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided when necessary