Shopkeepers have a duty to keep their staff cool in the summer, USDAW has reminded its members.

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SHOPKEEPERS have a duty to keep their staff cool in the summer, USDAW has reminded its members.

The union has been running its ‘Keep Your Cool – tackling heat stress at work’ campaign since 2009 and, as we move into August, has reissued guidelines to members.

An USDAW spokesperson said: “The law doesn’t specify a maximum reasonable temperature, but employers are expected to take reasonable steps to deal with situations where the temperature is uncomfortably high.

“The effects of heat depend on a variety of factors such as air temperature, heat sources, humidity, physical exertion, etc. Together these contribute toward a workers ‘thermal comfort”.

The guidance states: ‘Sweating also can cause problems. You can lose as much as two pints of water an hour through sweating. If fluids and salt are not replaced nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps can occur. Prolonged sweating can cause skin rashes and blocked pores (or ‘prickly heat’).

‘If your body temperature gets too high, heat stroke can occur. Research has shown that people who are not used to high temperatures can only work for an hour or so at temperatures of 40C before collapsing, even when the work involves no physical effort.’

The guidance can be downloaded here


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