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Heat stress in the workplace

When the temperatures outside reach peak levels, the heat doesn't stop at the office. But do employees have to endure every temperature? When does the employer have to intervene? And what are the most effective measures against heat stress in the office?

Need for action by the employer

If the thermometer at the workplace shows temperatures of 26 degrees and more on, the employer should do something. Until 30 degrees employees are in principle still obliged to perform their work. Of course, there are exceptions, for example for pregnant women. According to the Maternity Protection Act, they must not be exposed to the "harmful effects of heat". In the case of temperatures that are unacceptable for mother and child, they can be released from work by means of a medical certificate.

To combat the heat in the office, the boss can, for example, provide drinks, temporarily introduce flexitime or relax the dress code. But effective control of sun protection and ventilation systems can also alleviate the physical strain. Are there any problems with over 26 degrees heavy physical work to perform, further measures must be taken by the employer in addition.

In principle, the employer must be able to assume, on the basis of the measures he has taken, that there is no risk to workers' health.

Counteracting the heat in the office

To prevent it from getting so hot in the first place, employees can also do something themselves. If your workplace doesn't have the cooling luxury of air conditioning - luckily there are a few alternatives to cool down your body and mind when the outside temperature is high.

Work earlier

If you have a flexitime scheme, it's a good idea to start work as early as possible in the morning, when it's not yet so hot. That way, you can leave earlier when the temperature peaks. If you have a much cooler home office, a day at the office is a good idea. home office of course also helpful. In any case you should definitely take more breaks than usual.

Airy clothes

Adapt your clothing to the temperatures and wear airy, light and breathable clothes. This way there is no heat accumulation on the body. If possible, you should also replace sweaty wet clothes with new dry ones. Some employers even offer the possibility to change clothes after a refreshing shower.

Much liquid

Make sure you drink enough. Ideally water or other unsweetened beverages. Coffee, on the other hand, is not recommended, as it additionally stimulates sweat production. From the rule of thumb to drink about two liters of water daily, becomes three liters per day on hot days.

Cooling water on the skin

Cool off in between by running your hands under cold water. For a similarly refreshing effect can also be a small towel with cold water provide. Simply rinse well, wring out and place as a roll on the back of the neck.

Refresh feet

If the dress code at your job allows it, flip-flops can reduce the heat on your feet quite a bit. A small cold pool under your desk, if allowed, can also help with the heat you need. Freshness kick provide.

Light for the stomach

Do not burden your circulation with heavy food. During the day you should rather fresh salads, Fruit and vegetables on the menu.

Ventilate correctly

To reduce the temperature, you should ventilate in the morning and keep the windows closed from midday onwards and, if possible, darken them with blinds or curtains. You should also be careful with air conditioners: If the difference between room and outdoor temperature becomes too high, there is a risk of Risk of catching a cold.

The fan

If you don't have air conditioning in your office, a fan will do the job quite well and at least make the heat more bearable. However, you should make sure that the Aligning the airflow correctly. If the air stream regularly sweeps over the sweaty forehead, this can lead to a headache or a cold. It is better to point the fan at the upper body.