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Can You Go Home From Work Or School If It’s Too Hot?

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Can You Go Home From Work Or School If It’s Too Hot?

If you're in the UK - it's pretty much hot everywhere. Windows are open, fans are on high and most people are complaining about how bloody warm it is.

Welcome to summer.

But as this glorious season comes around every year, people tend to ask whether there is a level to which we just simply cannot work or study. In my home country, Australia, it was rumoured that if the temperature reached 38 degrees or above - we could stay home and enjoy the beautiful day.

I imagine that if the UK saw similar temperatures everyone would lose the plot.

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Brighton beach
Brighton beach

Plenty of people will flock to beaches like this one in Brighton to avoid the heat. Credit: PA

The Trade Union Congress told the Mirror: "If the temperature goes too high then it can become a health and safety issue. If people get too hot, they risk dizziness, fainting, or even heat cramps."

Some workers don't have the benefit of air-conditioning or relaxed attire, so this can be a very big issue. The TUC is calling for it to be illegal for people to work indoors if the temperature goes above 30 degrees - but we'll have to wait until that provision gets included.

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For now, we'll have to deal with the rules set by the Health and Safety Executive which state: "A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries.

"During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable. However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.

"If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment."

Worker in hot conditions
Worker in hot conditions
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Credit: PA

The HSE says that most workplaces should be at least 16 degrees, or 13 if the work involves rigorous work. But that temperature can usually climb much higher if you're forced to wear personal protective equipment.

The HSE says that if you're heating up - you're allowed to work at a slower rate, have more recovery time or consider working during a cooler part of the day.

Many parts of the UK are expected to be in the mid to high 20s this bank holiday long weekend. Most areas will be dry, with mild and muggy evenings before showers set in around Sunday.

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So, if you're too hot at work, tell your boss. If they're nice, they might let you go home early, but that's a long shot.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Employment, Work, hot, heatwave, UK

Stewart Perrie
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