Nicolas Maeterlinck

When is it too hot to work?

The highs of the past few weeks have brought many employers to take action to keep staff cool, but when is action compulsory?

In order to measure the temperature at the workplace a globe thermometer is required.  This also takes account of air humidity and the temperature radiated by objects in your vicinity.  The resulting temperature, WetBulb Global temperature (WBGT), is usually lower than regular temperature. Special action is required when the WBGT reaches 29 for office workers, while the threshold is 18 for people doing strenuous physical activity.

Christine Mattheeuws of the national union of self-employed points out that such thermometers are expensive to purchase and urges her members above all to listen to what their employees are saying about the heat.

97% of Belgian employees are taking measures to benefit the workforce in response to the heat.  Ventilation is turned up, water is made available and extra breaks are introduced.  Clothing rules are relaxed.

Many employers want their workers to be decently kitted out, but for the minute employers aren't being too strict.  64% of employers don't object to workers turning up in shorts in this heat. Swimming trunks and sports shorts are still being frowned on though!

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