Working in Heat and Solar Radiation

On hot summer days, the air temperature at the workplace can quickly rise to unhealthy values – outdoors as well as indoors. The employees are suffering: Declining performance, fatigue and cardiovascular stresses are the result. Studies have shown a significantly increased risk of accidents.

The employer has some legal responsibilities in this respect, but also the employees can do a lot to relieve the heat and its effects. Below, we have compiled some links and downloads which provide basic knowledge, information on the legal basis and behaviour tips for hot days.

Online Article: Recommendations for hot summer days in Workplaces
On hot summer days, the temperature in work areas such as offices, shops or workshops can quickly rise to unhealthy values and the employees have to suffer: Declining performance, fatigue and cardiovascular stresses are the result. Studies have shown a significantly increased risk of accidents. More about the study as well as tips for cooling, work organization and legal background can be found on the website of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).
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Brochure Download: AUVA Campaign "Sun Without the Dark Side"
The campaign “Sun Without the Dark Side” by the General Association for Accident Insurance (German – AUVA) was implemented in Austria in 2010 for employees working outdoors. The goal of the campaign was to display practical and affordable protective measures. Employers and employees were particularly informed about the correct behaviour and handling with regards to sunlight and the possible impairment caused by excessive sun exposure. The folder, "Sun Protection" offers tips regarding these questions: "What skin type am i?”, “How do I use sun cream correctly?” and “When should I protect myself?”
PDF download

Online Article: Work + Summer Heat
Basically, employees have no right to a day off when it's too hot (German: "hitzefrei"). Nevertheless, the employer is responsible for healthy working conditions also during summer heat. There are various protective measures against excessive heat at the workplace, technical as well as organizational and personal. Read more details in an online article by the Public Health Service of Baden-Württemberg.
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Download Brochure: Summer heat
Outdoor jobs bring along special hazards that cannot be controlled directly – like direct solar radiation that can cause sunburn, sunstroke, skin damage by the UV radiation, heat cramps, exhaustion and heat for the worst case scenario for heat stroke. The European Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has published a brochure which gives you "Tips for outdoor activities under adverse climatic conditions." The topics covered include hazards, ultraviolet radiation, ozone, precautions and instructions.
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Download Brochure: Heat in the office
A brochure by the IG Metall (Industrial Union of Metal Workers) offers tips for working in summer heat: "When the workplace becomes a sauna." Basically, the temperature in workrooms should not exceed 26 degrees Celsius. Higher temperatures are permitted only if the outside temperature has broken the 26-degree mark and appropriate sun protection measures are installed, says the IG Metall. The brochure further describes the exceptions to this rule, the legal basis of the issue, which measures have to be taken when, and what the work council can do.
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Online Article: Summer heat
In many office workplaces it is much too hot in the summer. This limits the performance, and health risks for the employees are associated with it. The employer is obliged to ensure healthy room temperatures and to take appropriate protective measures. As protection against summer heat, especially technical and organizational solutions are appropriate. For more details, please read the online article on Ergo Online.
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