Regulatory and compliance

Heatwave prompts HSE to warn employers to prepare for a warmer future

Published on 12th Aug 2022

Businesses need to make sure UK workplaces are ready for hotter weather and extreme heat is part of long-term planning 

Small drone hovering over lit up city

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in light of the recent heatwaves and record breaking temperatures this summer in the UK, has issued a warning to employers on the preparations needed to adapt to a "warmer future".

Workplace obligations 

Employers have a legal obligation under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, SI 1999/3242 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, SI 1992/3004, to consider the risks associated with heatwaves and to ensure a reasonable temperature in the workplace. 

The HSE’s acting head of operational strategy, John Rowe, said: "All workplaces need to acknowledge that the working environment is changing. There are low-cost adaptations to the structure of work, but things like improved ventilation and air conditioning should also be considered which will involve investment in the workplace."

Osborne Clarke comment 

Companies should be thinking about temperature in their risk assessments for the office and work environments and looking at ways to manage the risk: as well as ventilation and air conditioning, employers can think about other practical options such as changes to working patterns and hours, change in dress codes and additional water facilities.


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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