“Inhumane temperatures" were reported at this week’s tennis in Melbourne. Players have passed out and been ill as the thermometers climbed to 42 degrees, or in old terminology 108 degrees F says Personal Injury Solicitor Simon Allen..........
Such heat is oppressive. Effectively whilst self-employed the tennis players are ‘working’ in what one assumes is a Lawn Tennis Association approved event. Fortunately in the UK workers are protected from such extremes of temperature.
The starting point is to risk assess the workplace.
If low or high temperatures are present then an employer must take reasonable steps to avoid the risk to health. For example in hot workplaces the following should be considered:
- Insulating hot pipes or plant
- Providing cooling plant
- Shading windows
- Moving workstations away from heat producing equipment.
Additionally if the heat can’t be avoided then workers should not be subjected to the heat for longer than is reasonable. Practical measures to restrict the exposure must be implemented.
At the other end of the temperature spectrum a recent case considered the claim for damages of a soldier who suffered from non-freezing cold injury from repeatedly working in very cold weather. This is a condition which occurs when tissues are subjected to prolonged cooling insufficient to cause freezing; for instance: chilblains and hyperthermia.
No British worker should ever find themselves in a situation like Andy Murray this week. Our workplaces are regulated. Unlike the tournament director who said that “while conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured play would continue”, British employers have legal obligations that aren’t so easily avoided.