'Temperatures in the work place should not exceed 26 degrees Celsius'
Despite the recent heat wave, workers should not expect a relaxation to the work requirements that are normally expected of them. 'Current labour laws do not explicitly state a limit for acceptable working temperatures in the workplace', explained Bertram Brossardt , the CEO of VBW (die Bayerische Witschaft). 'As a general rule, the air temperature in all work spaces including first aid facilities, sanitary facilities, canteens and other public areas should not be any higher than 26 degrees'. However, if the temperature does exceed 26 degrees, there are no laws in place to protect the workers. 'For example, employees can forget that they have the right to demand air conditioning', said Brossardt.
By law, employers are required to ensure that the working conditions of the workplace pose no threat to the health or safety of their employees, however '...it is up to the individual employer to decide on the appropriate measures that must be taken to solve problems such as excessive heat...' said Brossardt, '...for example some offices choose to fit office windows, sky lights and transparent walls with specially treated glass that absorbs or reflects the sun's rays.'.
Other solutions could be the utilisation of blinds, effective ventilation methods and air conditioning systems. Further possibilities to help workers deal with high temperatures, continued Brossman, could be to introduce measures such as flexible working shifts, the relaxation of office dress codes and the provision of drinks to avoid dehydration.
The VBW stresses that despite the weather conditions, workers will still be held responsible for a punctual start to the working day. One must factor in possible traffic problems caused by the heat in order to avoid delays.