Unions demand maximum temperature law as Sunderland workers swelter in summer heat

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BUSINESS and union leaders have given a thumbs-up to calls for a maximum working temperature to be set down in law.

As Wearside continues to swelter, a group of MPs has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for workers to be sent home when the workplace temperature reaches 30C.

Regional TUC secretary Beth Farhat said the law set a legal minimum workplace temperature – but no legal maximum.

“The North East doesn’t typically experience many problems of maximum workplace temperature but this summer has highlighted real risks and concerns,” she said.

“When the temperature gets too high, it quickly becomes a health and safety issue with greater risks of dizziness, fainting or heat cramps.

“Physical work in very high temperatures can lead to risk of organ failure, even among normally fit and healthy people.

“North East employers should be allowing workers to dress down so they can work in comfort.

“We want employers to show consideration and common sense and ensure there are plenty of fans, portable air-conditioning units and cold drinking water available.” North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “The most important thing is ensuring a safe environment for workforce and customers.

“The vast majority of firms will have measures in place to ensure employees are not working in an oppressively hot environment.

“This Early Day Motion is laudable, but consideration must be given to businesses where heat is part and parcel of the job.

“It would also be unfair if this were to place a significant financial burden on businesses that have just battled through the worst recession in generations.”