Heat and Work: Can I Get Heat Free?

The next heat wave is coming to Germany.
Photo: Unsplash / Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells

If it is too hot to work, there is no heat at school. But does that also apply to employees? Above a certain temperature, employers have to take action.

The sun is beating down on the desk through the window, the air is oppressive and thick enough to cut through – concentrated work is hardly possible there. But is there a heat break in the office on hot days, just like at school? Not really, but above a certain temperature, employers have to take action. An overview.

From 26 degrees, employers should intervene

It shouldn’t get warmer than 26 degrees in the office. The Stiftung Warentest refers to this with reference to the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA). If the thermometer climbs above 26 degrees, employers should intervene, if it is more than 30 degrees they even have to.

If nothing helps and the temperature in the office exceeds 35 degrees, the room is no longer suitable for working, according to the BAuA. According to the Civil Code, bosses must generally ensure that their employees are protected from “dangers to life and health” – this also applies in the event of a heat wave.

Heat wave: No direct legal claim to being heat-free

Even then, simply going home from work is not allowed. According to the BAuA, there is no direct legal entitlement to heat-free or air-conditioned rooms. Instead, employees should contact their superiors or the works council.

Heat protection measures on the part of employers can be blinds or fans, for example. If there are dress codes, these can be relaxed. Bosses can also move work forward to cooler hours or provide chilled drinks.

What if you work outdoors in the heat?

Devices also radiate heat; only what is really necessary should run here. Otherwise, the following applies to employees: drink a lot and regularly and let cold water run over your wrists and forearms at the sink from time to time.

Of course, the heat limits do not apply to rooms where a certain temperature is required for operations, such as in a steel mill or garden centers. However, if you have to work outdoors in the scorching sun, employers should protect you from UV radiation, for example with sunscreen, protective clothing or sun sails.

Hot summer 2023?

Monday, July 3, 2023 was the hottest day on record worldwide since weather records began. In many places, people are currently suffering from unusually high temperatures. Temperatures above 30 degrees are also expected in Germany next weekend. Note the following tips on hot days:

  • What to do when it’s hot The best tips to endure the heat wave
  • Proper ventilation in hot weather: when? How? And how long?
  • Cooling the apartment – tips & tricks ▷ This is how the apartment stays cool
  • Heatwave: Danger to life for the elderly and small children
  • Heat wave & dog: do’s and don’ts at high temperatures

Is climate change to blame for such extreme weather phenomena? First of all, it must be stated that individual weather phenomena cannot be attributed to climate change. Where the experts agree, however: extreme weather conditions – such as heat waves – will intensify in the future due to climate change and will increase significantly in frequency. Also read: Weather or climate? The difference simply explained

Read more on Techzle.com:

  • Study: How walking 11 minutes a day prevents deaths
  • “Summers used to be hot too!” – Why our memories deceive us
  • 7 common mistakes to avoid when it’s hot

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