It's baking. We can't actually remember a time we were so hot in the UK. For a change, going to an air conditioned office is actually preferable to sweltering at home (freak occurrence). But what if your office has no air con? Are you supposed to work in this crazy heat? If temperatures get too hot inside you're at risk of increased tiredness, dizziness and fainting. Surely there's a maximum temperature that office workers can comfortably function in? Well kind of.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) hasn't set a maximum limit but has previously released these guidelines: “An acceptable zone of thermal comfort for most people in the UK lies roughly between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F), with acceptable temperatures for more strenuous work activities concentrated towards the bottom end of the range, and more sedentary activities towards the higher end.”
However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) say people work best at between 16°C and 24°C, depending on the type of work. They recommend 20°C for office workers and have called for a maximum temperature to be set of 30°C. The TUC adds: "In addition, employers have to assess risks and introduce any necessary prevention or control measures, and the risk from high (or low) temperatures, and of skin cancer due to exposure to the sun, should always be considered in any risk assessment."
Legally, an employer needs to ensure a working environment is practical, safe and free from health risks and must take the following steps to cool down offices: shade windows, install fans or air conditioning systems, provide thermometers to monitor indoor heat and assess staffs' job in respect to the heat. Other measures to be considered are relaxing dress codes, redesigning the office to move people away from windows and allow staff more flexible working hours as well as more breaks.
So while there is no legal maximum temperature, there are strict guidelines your boss must follow. If your office is above 30°C and your company hasn't made any of the above steps to cool it down and you feel unwell, you are entitled to complain and go home. The office really shouldn't be open.
We're praying for rain, which is weird in England.