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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Sweltering workers 'need protection'
Graphic
Are you chained to your desk in the summer heat?
UK workers are at an increased risk of accidents and ill health as summer temperatures soar, according to the TUC.

As a result the TUC is calling on the government to impose a maximum temperature for the workplace, beyond which workers would be allowed to go home.

However, according to recruitment agents and work charities, employees are already taking matters into their own hands to escape the soaring temperatures.

"When things get really hot in the UK, some workers do seem to get struck down with a mysterious illness - sometimes known as 'suntanitis' - which makes them phone in sick," Katy Nicholson, spokeswoman for Reed recruitment, told BBC News Online.

Protection

At present workers are protected against extreme cold but not uncomfortably high temperatures.

Improved information technology is allowing people to choose to work at home
Katy Nicholson Reed recruitment
Working in the heat can cause injuries and illness, directly and as a result of greater stress, increased violence and lack of concentration, say the unions.

The TUC is calling for a maximum working temperature of 30 degrees celsius, or 27 degrees celsius for those doing strenuous work.

Workers, whose exposure to heat cannot be reduced, such as bakers and foundry workers should be provided with adequate breaks and offered job rotation.

"Extreme heat can be just as dangerous as extreme cold. While there is no legal maximum working temperature, Britain's workers are not protected from sweatshop conditions," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said.

Mystery illness

The warning comes as Britain swelters in the August heat, with the record high UK temperature of 37.1 degrees celsius set in 1990 reckoned to be under threat.

And as Britain hots up, recruitment firms dealing with temporary job placements are reporting booming business.

"This week we've certainly seen a last-minute rise in demand for temporaries to help cover unexpected staff shortfalls," Reed's Katy Nicholson said.

However, not all workers are relying on a 'mystery illnesses' to take time out of the office.

"Improved information technology is allowing people to choose to work at home, where they can look after children in the school summer holidays," Aaron Ross head of the Work Life Balance Trust told BBC News Online.

"Workers are actually more productive at home than they are at work because they don't have the stress of the daily commute," he added.

Your comments:

Working at home on an occasional basis is welcome but during periods of high temperatures, I'd rather be in the air-conditioned office despite the travelling.
Ian Marshall, UK

As I write this it's 32 degC in my office and it'll get hotter. It's interesting to compare this story with the one about hospitals flouting fire regulations because at the moment every fire door in the building is wedged open. It seems that only the drugs get air conditioning.
Christopher, Birmingham, UK

It's 82 degrees Fahrenheit in my office at the moment, and I'm losing concentration as a result
Sarah, UK
One thought is that most homes don't have any air conditioning where as many offices, shops, hotels etc. do. Going to work is then a pleasure.
Alan Hurrell, England

I have no natural light or air in my office so I am struggling today. My pleas for an airconditioning unit to my boss has been met with a stoney faced silence - he is working in shorts and t-shirt and all windows in his office are open
PAULINE, london

The thermometer on our office wall is currently showing 32 degrees but, hey, it's summer! The windows are open, fans are blowing, fridge is full of ice lollies and we go swimming at the local gym at lunchtime - cool!
Debbie, Manchester

Our office is really stuffy - we have three fans and an air cooler, but even with these the temp this afternoon was getting above 33degrees - everyone just feels so lethargic and can't concentrate. Workers should be able to go home as we aren't very productive at the moment. Plus the air cooler is so loud we can hardly hear anyone speaking a few feet away let alone on the telephone, and we can't have the windows open too much as the blinds then fall apart, and we can't not have the blinds drawn because then we can't see our screens!
Heidi Gains, England

Very hot in my office. With all the computing and DTP equipment we have and NO air conditioning, it gets up to the mid-thirties in here some days. Doesn't exactly make you feel like doing much.
Ian, uk

I'm lucky because my manager is very reasonable about dress code and refreshment breaks - but thereagain, he's in the same boat as the rest of us - no air conditioning and sweltering office temperatures. I feel really sorry for workers with stricter bosses.
Ali, Chelmsford, Essex, UK

On the Today programme this morning there was a piece about animal welfare groups and concern over the transport of livestock in such hot weather. I would love to see a comparison of these conditions to those for commuters on the London underground.
Sam, UK

It is all very well calling for maximum temperatures in the work place, but firms can't afford to send staff home, & if all offices, shops and factories put in air-conditioning the government would never achieve it's targets for greenhouse gasses!
Chris Tinley, uk

The only relief we get in our office is to go and stand in the massive chillers for 5 minutes at a time.
Nick Flood, England

i work in a machineshop and the temp has been around 40 all week even in the cooler summers its around 32, we`ve no cooling at all not even a fan, while this is going on the new managing director has had air con fitted in his office, us and them all the time what a joke. Come on TUC make it law otherwise nothing will change
Anonymous, Sheffield

We have had several people faint and more seriously have real problems with dehydration, despite drinking litres and litres of water
Paul, UK

I work in a metal clad shop, its huge and during the summer acts like a green-house, the only places with AC are the office and staff room, but with the majority of the time spent on the boiling hot shop floor or in the even hotter stock room this doesnt help a great deal. Even the customers complain and many have fainted, image how the staff feel having work in these conditions!
Anonymous, UK

I work for Tesco in one of their chilled Distribution Centres. The temperature in the main chamber we use is +1C. Everyone thinks this sounds great when the weather's like this. However, finishing a shift at 4pm and having to make your way home, complete with sweatshirts, coats and gloves isn't so easy.
Damien, UK

We complain about the cold all winter and wish the time away until summer and now it's here we're all complaining again! What on earth would us british do if we lived somewhere where the climate is really extreme?! Anyone fancy a trip to Libya?!
Anonymous, UK

Now UK citizens can understand why Southerners drink Iced tea! Seriously, (1) carry cups of ice with you all the time. As it melts, sip the cool water. Before AC in cars, I'd rub my face and arms with ice. (2) If workplaces have no workable windows, require companies to send folks home - air circulation is literally a lifesaver. (3) Attach a sturdy cord (out of baby's reach) to each car seat, especially those in the back seat. The other end of the cord is tied to your belt. Don't think you'll never forget a child. A rushed moment, a "one minute" run into a store that runs to an hour when the parent is detained by an accident - it happens every summer. Signed - A 90 Degree F Every Day Survivor. PS. My home town in Alabama would run a monthly summer heat contest. The winner predicted the first day the temp. was below 90. Some months no one had a chance to win.
David Owen, USA

Many of us are suffering from high levels of stress, heat exhaustion and other REAL illnesses as a result of employer's refusal to take this issue seriously.
Jo, UK
Think yourselves lucky if you work in an office. I work as a kitchen porter, even on a "cool" day we face 30 degrees because of no effective air con and I daren't look at the mercury in this weather.....it probably would shock me. We have had several people faint and more seriously have real problems with dehydration, despite drinking litres and litres of water. Try working in a kitchen in this weather..then you'll have something to complain about!
Paul, Uk

My magnanimous employers have decided the staff can leave an hour early every day this week provided we don't take a lunch hour! So in this heat we are having to work 7 hours non stop. There is no air conditioning and if you want a desk fan you have to buy your own. It was unbearably hot yesterday and I am dreading working 7 hours with no break in the hotter temperatures predicted today. Some law needs to be passed to govern the temperatures workers should have to work in that covers all types of employment and not limited to places employing more than a certain number of people.
Kate, Derby, England

Many machines and measurement devices go out of calibration at these temperatures and some PCs and peripherals don't like it either - so if the machines can't work why stay?
Mike, UK

I am sat at the moment in a fully air conditioned office and i have to say it is realy nice to come to work.
Craig Oddy, Halifax, England

Hot weather like this gives me migraines and is not helped by our constantly on fluorescent lighting which is making me feel sick.
Mark, UK

The government should agree to a maximum temperature for the workplace before I and everyone else in this situation lose the will to do anything.
Jess Goode, UK
I had to do a client visit at their office yesterday. It was in one of those modern buildings with a huge glass covered atrium that united all the office blocks. It was hot outside, but that was nothing compared to the oven I walked into. Needless to say, not many staff were enjoying the coffee shops and other services on offer in the atrium. Luckily the air-conditioning was working OK in the office blocks.
Christine, UK

I find my biggest worry is going in and out from the goosebump-inducing air conditioning in the office to the sweltering heat outside. surely that can't be healthy?!
Anonymous

I think one of the things this story highlights is just how awful some of the recently constructed buildings in the UK really are. Cheap, glass hothouses that have been built with no consideration being made to the environment that people will have to work in (eg, lighting, temperature, air flow.) Admittedly the temperatures we have seen over the last few days are not the norm, nevertheless more attention has to be paid to improving the working environment. This would help us all to be a more productive and motivated workforce and less of a grumpy, lethargic bunch of whingers.
Robin Wylie, UK

I am fed up with the perpetuation of the myth that "hot" weather is good and any other sort is unwelcome. I share a non-air conditioned office, with large windows on 3 sides which can be opened a fraction for ventilation, but not enough to make a difference to the ambient temperature. We DO have some blinds, but not enough to go round, and can't have the blinds drawn and windows open at the same time. I share this with 50 colleagues, all of whom have PCs belching out extra heat. It's 9.30 am and the temperature is already 28C, relatively cool for this place. I expect it to rise to at least 35C by this afternoon, as it did yesterday. Worse than the heat is the humidity level, which must be close to 100%. I dread this sort of weather and have to buy shoes one size larger, to wear at work, because the heat causes my ankles and feet to swell so much that my shoes cut into me. On days like this, I long for winter's "bad" weather and try to remember what it feels like to h! av! e goosebumps. Mind you, it's hard to tell it's winter in the office, when the heating's cranked up so high you'd think you were in the middle of a heatwave. I wholeheartedly support the TUC in its bid to establish a maximum working temperature of 30C. We're not all sunworshippers, as Ms Nicholson of Reed recruitment, would have you believe. Many of us are suffering from high levels of stress, heat exhaustion and other REAL illnesses as a result of employer's refusal to take this issue seriously.
Jo, UK

32 degrees and rising to mid 30s. All pleas for aircon fall on deaf ears, and wearing shorts is strictly forbidden. Prison? No, just unreasonable working conditions on a trade counter. And it starts again in winter with temperatures below legal minimums. Roll on Autumn and Spring!!
Lee, UK

I am getting more and more aggitated sitting in this hot, stuffy office. We have no air conditioning and the fan is merely circulating the already hot air. The government should agree to a maximum temperature for the workplace before I and everyone else in this situation lose the will to do anything. Working in a University housing office, I am supposed to be providing a friendly service to our students and landlords, but I just feel irritable and uncomfortable!
Jess Goode, UK

Two years ago I was working in California where every office was air conditioned and you went outside into the 105 degree heat to warm up as it was too cold to work. Here in Crawley Im in an office where one airconditioning unit is so noisy as it struggles to keep up (apparently it was designed for max temperatures of 75 degs), and the other which was russian built hadn't been used for several years. Given that we have a flat black roof above us, the ovens for the canteen directly below us and west facing windows its actually cooler to go outside stand in the shade and get the breeze across you. Answer to all the gripes is that it will hack down with rain next week and you can all moan about how summer didn't last that long.
Nic, UK

At our place of work, it depends on which building you're in- one building gets extremely hot on sunny days, even in winter. I moved out of there just in time; visiting is possible for a few minutes before you start to feel sick.
Bridget Kenyon, UK

If it gets any hotter I am going home I can't stand much more of this
Mark, England
The maximum should be set lower than 30 degress Celsius. Its 82 degrees Fahrenheit in my office at the moment, and I'm losing concentration as a result.
Sarah, UK

I used to work in a huge air-conditioned building in the City and had on average one throat infection a month. Now I work locally and it's baking hot in here but we've got lots of fans and the windows are open. The Ice Cream van calls and our dress code has been relaxed. Personally I'd rather put up with it than be permanently damaging both myself and the environment. I do think however that there should be a maximum even if it is very high as it does get to a point where you just can't concentrate and are therefore unable to do your job so there's not much point being here!
Kerry Lecomber, UK

Please can everyone stop moaning about the weather, it's going to rain for the next eleven months so let's enjoy it while we can. Work will always cut into the day.
Sun Worshipper, UK

I hope the goverment does impose a maximum temperture law for the workplace although I suspect it won't come into effect till next year now.I am sat in a room with 1 pokey little window and 12 computers all running adding to the heat its unbearable the heat has not dropped at all it was scorching hot in here as soon as I opened up this morning. If it gets any hotter I am going home I can't stand much more of this.
Mark, England

The maximum temperature for transporting livestock is 37 degrees. Buses and trains in London are usually hotter than this! I understand the tube is almost impossible to air condition (warm air displacement) but overground trains and buses should be modified.
Jason Matthews, UK

Having just been made redundent last week, It could not have come at a better time. On the other hand all this fabulous weather is making job hunting a low priority right now. Still how often does a heatwave like this come around?
Brian, UK, Leeds

Its a rather warm 26C in our office in Buckinghamshire at 11:30 BST. But we are still here!
John, UK

I sit here in my shirt, tie and suit trousers (fortunately I don't have to wear a jacket) baking in the office. We have no air conditioning or proper windows to open, but two fans between seven of us. It's hot and stuffy and probably doesn't smell too good either.
Andy New, UK

With all this extra sun would it not be a good idea for the government to sponsor/provide subsidies to people that put a solar panel on their roof. If all building had a panel, that could be used to lower electrical demand during hot periods, and perhaps reduce the need for more power stations. Getting cooler in the sun, now there's an idea!
Andrew, UK/Netherlands

As I'm 4 months pregnant I go home when the termperature in the office reaches 35C. Apparently, yesterday afternoon it got to 38C (luckily I'd left by then). It's no better outside : 41 at 6pm last night!
Carys Roberts, France

It's 11.41am currently 33c in our office no air conditioning and we are moving offices, cannot wear shorts. Let's back the TUC and a get a maximum working temp in operation asap!!!!!!
Sue White, England

Just drink plenty of water and stop moaning!
Paul, England
As H&S rep I get repeated complaints from colleagues in the offices as to how hot it is in summer and how cold in winter. We have no water coolers and no air conditioning. The temperature in one office reached 92F. Unacceptable we all feel but managment just seem to take a view the cost is too great to raise morale amongst staff and give them them an adequate cool water supply and well ventilated offices. I tear my hair out.
Chris, North Yorkshire

Here in New Jersey, we usually spend most of May, all of June, July, and August sweltering through 90+ degree temperatures with humidity to match. Wear looser cotton clothing, if you can, drink lots of water, run cold water over your wrists and lower arms (it really helps!), put your hair up off your neck, eat lighter foods, such as a salad, and have an ice cream. It sounds like most of you are in the wrong psychological mood. Think cool. One of our local radio stations was playing some Christmas carols on the hottest day in July, and as silly as it sounds, it helped!
Linda, NJ, USA

My mum is a primary school teacher who teaches 5-7 year olds. She has 29 children in a cramped classroom and has been unable to open her windows this last term due to building work, dust and debris outside her classroom. On one particular day, her classroom thermometer topped 29c. The children were complaining of headaches, falling asleep and one child was actually sick. So yes, I believe a maximum legal temperature is just as necessary as a minumum. In fact I would say the cold is less dangerous as you can wear extra clothing, but in the heat you can't keep taking clothing off!
SD, UK

Even though most people don't have air conditioning at home, at least you can dress more comfortably, Tshirt/shorts rather than a suit!
Helen Teasdale, England

My wife was dreading going to work this morning. She works in a hospital where the windows are not opened. The heat and the smell gets unbearable and she has to wear a uniform which does not cater for extremes of temperature. The conditions cannot possibly be good for the health of the patients or the staff.
Andy Greaves, UK

I spent the first 16 years of my working life in the Merchant Navy as an Engineer Officer on general cargo ships. We had to work (physically work, not sit in an office!) shifts of 4 on 8 off plus 2 hours overtime a day in the engineroom where the ambient was around 45-48C in the Far East, 55-60 in the Middle East in summer. No-one complained, what was the point? We had jobs to do and they had to be completed. Just drink plenty of water and stop moaning!
Paul, England

What we need is a siesta
Stephanie Sayer, UK

I find when I get home and my flat is hot it's mainly the humidity thats the worst to cope with ,so I close all the windows and switch on my de-humidifier this take all the moisture out of the air an although not any cooler feels a lot more comfortable. Try it
Derek Toyne, uk

Our office is above a foundry furnace / Dye Shop which generates a huge amount of heat. What with the weather outside, the heat from the furnace and the false ceiling in the office, our thermo-reader measures a whopping 45degC!!!! Windows are open, fans are blowing and a mini air-con unit is thrashing it's guts out in an attempt to keep the room cool. The floor is so warm that you could even dry your clothes on it!
Neil Picton, ENGLAND

The temperature in our office has not dropped below 30C during this week. The windows open about 2" and we have no AC, just fans which distribute the hot air more evenly. There are approx. 50 computers and 10 other machines belching out extra heat. Everyone in our office is hoping that upper temperature limits are set, as it is far too hot and humid to concentrate properly.
Rebecca, Hastings,UK

Working from home would be more than welcome at the moment as I am working in an office that has now air conditioning and all we have is a couple of fans to keep us cool. It is quite appaling. Surely this is not the way we expect people to work.
Shelley Deignan, England

It isn't only the temperature that affects us - it's the degree of ventilation that goes with it. My office is currently at 29 degrees and has reached 34 degrees a couple of weeks ago, but it is comfortable today because the windows and fire doors are wedged open (!)and there is enough through ventilation from the breeze. It is usually down to the poor design of buildings that they attract so much heat gain and simple measures such as the colour of walls and roofs can have a dramatic effect.
Alan Hoskins, UK

We should not forget our soldiers who are enduring temperatures far hotter than this (45-50C) in southern Iraq, and don't have the option of going home to cool down.
Ade, UK

To Paul, the Merchant Navy guy, I think this country has suffered too long from the "mustn't grumble" philosophy!! I think it's outrageous that employers are allowed to put their staff's health at risk for the sake of money. Luckily, my employers take their health and safety responsibilites seriously (although we have no air-con) but I think it's time the government did something about it.
Matt, UK

I'm an employer, presumably if it's too hot to work and employee's wish to go home, they will clock out and I won't have to pay them. Sounds a great way of cutting costs during the usually quite summer months!
Tim, UK

As I write this we are all sitting in portacabins with two fans working all the windows open and we are all boiling hot. Unfortunately we don't have the option to work at home as we need to be in the office for the telephone but needless to say most of the managers are working at home today. What we need is a siesta !!!!!
Stephanie Sayer, UK

Our office is currently 30 degrees. We have windows and the door open, a fan on full blast and are wearing the skimpiest clothing we can get away with! I find that by early afternoon I feel very sleepy and lose concentration and patience quickly. I think it is sensible to introduce maximum working temp when there is a minimum already in place.
Kelly Yeates, Stafford, UK

Employers should be more flexible with working hours. I have encouraged my team to start early and finish early. Our office has little ventiliation, and even on less hot days it hits 30C.
Sonia, UK, Epsom

A maximum temperature law would force tight-fisted employers to do something about unacceptably hot conditions in the workplace. Productivity would not suffer at all because managers would be so terrified at the prospect of losing money due to staff going home that they would install air conditioning very quickly indeed.
Kevin Birnie, UK

Our office is boiling this afternoon we have no air conditioning and only a few fans dotted around the room to share between 40 people, its rediculous BRING IN THE MAX TEMP!
Lisa, Southampton, Uk

Working on a stroke/dementia ward without air conditioning is very uncomfortable. This is made harder with a heavy workloads, resistive and aggressive patients and no thanks or encouragement from managers who have adequate fans in their offices! I think that air conditioning should be made compulsory in certain work places. No matter what the temperature, we could not be sent home. There would be no one to run our hospitals, most of which have problems with high temperatures this time of year. I'm suprised the TUC have taken this long to make an issue of the heat!
lou, Kent

I work from home, have done since 97. Dispensing with a business suit is a real bonus in this weatherIm sitting here in just a pair of shorts, listening to internet radio while working online and am about to take a siesta to enjoy a bit of sun. Sorry to gloat.
Dave, London

I agree it is not pleasant to be in an office in this hot weather but I am not complaining. Having spent some sixteen years as a lorry driver in London traffic with in cab temperatures exceeding 50C, surrounded by glass and the heat of the engine coming through the floor. There is no draught from an open window unless your vehicle is moving. At least you can get a cold glass of water and the loo when you need to. Give me the office any day!
John H, England

The weather would not be so bad if us office workers were not forced to wear trousers,shirt and tie. What's wrong with neatly fitted trouser shorts, Polo shirt and smart sandals?
Oliver Howe, England

I'm sure the senior management don't want us to start stripping off....
Anonymous, UK

I'm lucky, I've got a "Cool-Seat" to sit on! All you H & S Reps check out the web for "Cool Products" and you'll be surprised at what you can get.
Jean, UK

Two of us work upstairs in a medical centre we are the only IT staff, the temperature is 91 and even after asking a few months back for two mobile air conditioning units, we have been told that it is on his list to think about !!! I suppose it will get to the top of his list by December.... nice to think they care about there staff isn't it.
Suzanne, Great Britain

I have read your article on "Sewltering workers need protection" and I felt so happy to read it. I work in one of those very "nice modern" buildings that has all windows sealed and just a few emergency exit doors. The air conditioning had been broken for 2 years or more now and a few days ago the temperature in our office reached 32 degrees C at 5pm. We were instructed to close all blinds and the office looked as thought it was night time. All to keep the little "cool" air we had left inside if any. Of course this did not work because the PCs irradiate heat and there is so many in our floor. The heat kept rising and even those who never complained were looking at the thermometer rise. Facilities sent an email saying that "temperatures were expected to go down in the coming days" and this was the only thinkg they did. No manager stepped in to say the employees could leave so everybody stayed trying to work. Having air conditioning at home or not is a personal option, but in the office you can not choose. If no law is passed and temperature gets above 32 in our office we will still be expected to go to work. It is proven that high temperature makes you fill as sick, unproductive and irritated as low temperature and if the government does not address this issues it will cost more to the country and companies when people fall sick due to this and have to hire temporary workes. If I could, I would definitely prefer to work at home where I can at least choose if I want to work in a healthy environment or just put up with the heat. Thank you for your article addressing this issue.
Lorena, Argentina

I think the TUC's idea of calling for a maximu temperature for working conditions is a marvelous idea. However, at the moment it is 30c in our office and this is unbearable. We do not have air conditioning and our windows do not open properly. In our opinion this top temperature should be 27c for office workers.
Karen Scott, England

It is all very well to be told to 'stop moaning' and 'drink more water', but I was under the impression that we lived in civilised society, where sweat shop practises are frowned upon. It is also all very well (PAUL) to harp on about your time in the Merchant Navy, but surely you EXPECTED such extremes of temperatures, I work in an office and do not expect to have to endure 34C heat with zero ventilation. I am sure that most of my fellow office workers feel the same.
Claire, UK

Where I work we have people who insist on the air con being on cold, I have to wear a fleece inside as it is so cold. When I complain I am labled a trouble maker
Anonymous

We work in an old barn its a beautiful setting but it is currently 85 degrees and rising!! We have fans, but it is unbearable all the same and people are losing concentration as a result. Air conditioning is out of the question as it is a listed building. Summer is no fun, so those working in air-conditioned offices should be grateful!
Ray, Oxford, UK

I checked out the BBC 5-day forecast last week then promtly booked this week off. Now i'm relaxing in my garden in the shade and enjoying every minute!
Antonio d'Agostino, Peterborough, UK

It is currently 33.5 degrees in our office. The fans are just circulating the hot air. And my multimillionaire boss, who will not invest in aircon, has gone home to have a swim in his pool Alright for some eh?
Ron, UK

At present the dermatology unit at Orpington Hospital is working under horrendous heat conditions. We work in a Portakabin with no air conditioning, windows unable to be opened due to ongoing building works. We have been provided with an air conditioning unit that does not work and although we have 3 fans, they are merely circulating the hot air. All this in an office that measures approx 12' square, containing 4 secretaries, 4 computers, 4 printers. The temp gauge has reached 98 degrees which is the constant temperature in here. Any suggestions please?
Carole Segger, United Kingdom

The thermometer on my desk is currently reading 32 Celcius, with both windows open and a 10" fan blowing full tilt. And I have one of the coolest spots in the (non airconditioned, atrium-located) office. All of our managers are away on holiday (surprise!) so there is no-one to make a decision on renting air-conditioning units, or sending us home. We have about 40 PCs running in a room built for 10 people which aren't helping. This isn't productive, and tempers are fraying. We have already been refused a water cooler and a fridge. At least when it's cold, you can put a jumper on... there really needs to be a maximum temperature directive, as there are fewer options available to deal with excessive temperatures.. and I'm sure the senior management don't want us to start stripping off....
Anonymous, UK

Our office is 32 degrees C, thanks to our computers and monitors spewing forth heat (not to mention the sunny goodness outside)... and we're surrounded by other offices with air conditioning...
Sarah Joy, United Kingdom

Our office thermometer say 34.5C. Needless to say, no-one is doing any work...
Anonymous, UK

If you are hot at work then would you not be hot at home? I don't think most employers will let their workers go home because of this.
Marge, Leeds

It has just reached 38 centrigrade on the window ledge outside our office!! No air conditioning, very difficut to concentrate and drinking gallons of water....the great British Summer.
Stuart, Crawley, West Sussex, U.K

We have a lovely cool office and love coming to work. My advice to people is to be glad that you have a job and that the sun is shining. If you hate it that much then simply look for a job with a company who cares about its employees..
Karin , England

Our windows don't open at all. But we have an air con system that almost gives us goosebumps sometimes,at other times it packs up all together, and the heat (even on a normal day) is unbearable. We aren't allowed fans in the office because of health and safety reasons, bit ironic really when we feel as though on a slow cook! A maximum temperature would be great, then we could go home, have a big glass of proper pimms with all the trimmings and lie in the sun in bikinis and relax and enjoy..... Infact I'm off home now to do just that!
Rachel, Surrey UK

Here's my take on it. I am employed by my employer to do a job, and as always I will concentrate on this to the bets of my ability. However my ability will become almost none existant if I have to suffer such horrendous conditions. I am lucky - my office is well air conditioned. The comments that 'you'd be hot at home' are quite blatently false - I do not share my home with 40 other staff, and have a boat load of PC's chucking heat out. I also do not have those massive sun trap windows. A question : If an employer asked you to do something that you were not trained for, without the correct tools would you do it? - because that's just about what is happening here
Mikey, UK

It is not only office workers who suffer in this very hot heat. Think about those of us who work in factories where the temperature reached 102 degrees f today and most days as well
derek hazel, england

I'm a student working doing manual work in a facotry over summer and today it was 34 degrees celcius and I was lifting heavy steel bars into machines for most of the day. It was a horrible experience, but as long as I kept drinking lots of water and taking breaks there was little danger of it being dangerous. it's actually really good exercise- like going to the gym except I get paid! I'm off out now for a cold pint!
Mike, UK

Judging by the number of comments on the site nobody is doing anything at work (perhaps due to the heat?)
Mike O, UK

Whilst we don't expect our managers to wave a magic wand and turn down the heat and humidity in our offices, we should expect them to take reasonable measures to help staff and communicate with them on their needs, especially those with disabilities, pregnant staff and those women going through the change of life. I have in Customs & Excise Southend issued Union guidance to senior management on expectations and practical measures they could (and should) be taking). My PCS Safety reps are monitoring the level of complaints, and where the temperature is hitting over 80 degrees Celcius, we are recommending that managers send staff home early, as well as taking extended breaks, drinking more water, etc. Most of this is commonsense, but people still need reminding of these basics, and should know that their managers do care about their Health and Safety - after all it is their legal as well as moral duty to do so!
Darrell Binding, S E England

C'mon people, what's to whinge about? It's summer, give it a couple of weeks and you'll all be back in the dark with howling winds and driving rain. Then you'll have something to whine about. I now live in Australia (originally from the UK) and have been here just over 11 years. Believe me, 35 degrees is standard here for summer, and not just for a week or two. Try several months! If we asked to go home at 30 degrees the countries economy would fold, no one would be at work half the year. It's all about being proactive, sensible and just enjoy the weather. You may all have to wait another 13 years for the same!
Jason, Australia

All over the world countries are ripped apart by war, famine and pestilence, people are being butchered,and starving to death. Over 70% of the population of this world would give anything to have the lives, the comfort, wealth, health and freedom that we have. How about we all stop acting like soft spoilt brats and try to remember that before we start complaining about a little bit of sweat in the workplace.
R, england

The temperature in my office has been in the 90's this week, all the doors and windows open, but no relief. As a union health and safety officer nI am disapointed there is no legislation. Tempers flare, mistakes are made, some people feel physically drained so driving home can become a nightmare. Someone please come up with a solution.
Roger Billam., England




SEE ALSO:
Capital's workers 'at risk'
07 Jan 03  |  Business
Graduates choose public sector
25 Jul 03  |  Education
UK's long hours culture 'a myth'
26 May 03  |  Business


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