UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 03 July 2015 13:30
Turning up the heat – FSB publishes guidance for businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) released (today) its guidance to help businesses overcome the challenges as temperatures reach record levels.
While the hot weather can be beneficial for many businesses’ profits, employers also have a duty to ensure that work temperatures are reasonable for staff, customers and clients.
There is no legal requirement for a maximum working temperature, but employers should adhere to health and safety laws that necessitate a comfortable working environment and the provision of clean and fresh air.
As the UK records some of its highest temperatures for a decade this is an ideal time for employers to explore the potential benefits of flexible working for their staff to minimise the hot weather’s impact.
Severe weather, such as temperatures significantly above the average, brings into focus the impact weather can have on businesses and their ability to trade. Recent FSB research suggests two thirds of our members have been negatively affected by severe weather in the last three years – costing on average £7000 for each small business affected.
Despite these risks and the impact it can have on their trading, only 25 per cent of businesses have a resilience plan in place that specifically includes severe weather.
John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“In many businesses the hot weather has boosted sales, but it is important that firms are prepared for the adverse effects of extreme weather too.
“For those employees without air conditioning, experiencing travel chaos to and from work or who work outside, employers will need to be mindful and take action. Solutions are available to every type of business and we hope that our advice will assist our members in finding the right way forward for them.”
Steps employers should consider taking for extremely hot weather include:
- Explore the possibility of flexible working, eg working from home, avoiding travelling during rush hour.
- Ensure a sufficient resilience plan is in place.
- Where appropriate, provide air-cooling devices.
- Make sure shade is available to employees; this may require the use of blinds, reflective film or moving desks.
- Allow additional breaks for employees to cool down.
- Provide extra facilities, for example extra water coolers to ensure staff stay hydrated.
- Where possible and health and safety dependent, employers could relax formal dress codes.
- Identify employees particularly at risk from heat and ensure specific precautionary measures are in place for them.
Notes to Editors
1) The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with around 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK’s Real-Life Entrepreneurs who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk and follow on Twitter @fsb_policy
2) FSB will releasing a Severe Weather Report on Monday, 6th July at 9am. It will be available on the FSB website.
3) For further information about the employer’s guide to hot weather in the work place, visit the Health and Safety Executive’s website.
Area Administrator - North & Midlands
The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK's largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms. Formed in 1974, it now has around 200,000 members across 33 regions and 188 branches.
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