The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for bosses to make sure outdoor workers are protected from the sun as temperatures are set to soar.
With temperatures set to hit 30 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country this week, the TUC said employers should make sure any workers working outside have enough water and breaks during the anticipated heatwave.
The TUC has also warned that workers like builders, agricultural workers and gardeners who are outside for lengthy periods in high temperatures are at risk of sunstroke, sunburn and even skin cancer.
And working in hot weather can also lead to dehydration, tiredness, muscle cramps, rashes, fainting, and – in the most extreme cases – loss of consciousness.
“We all love to see the sunshine. But working outdoors in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous,” said TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady.
“Bosses must ensure their staff are protected with regular breaks, lots of fluids, plenty of sunscreen and the right protective clothing.
“Anyone worried about their working conditions should join a union, it’s the best way to stay safe at work and make sure you are represented, and your voice heard,” added Ms O’Grady.
The Met Office has also issued a warning that there is an 80% probability of heatwave conditions between 9am today (26 June) and 6pm on Thursday (28 June) in some parts of England.
“As warmer air from the continent moves towards the UK from Wednesday, temperatures will climb into the mid to high 20s quite widely, even in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland,” said Chief Meteorologist, Frank Saunders.
“By this stage, some places in England and Wales will very likely top 30 Celsius – it’s not unlikely somewhere could reach 32 Celsius. With almost wall-to-wall sunshine we’ll certainly be looking at conditions which many of us would call a heatwave.”
Dr Owen Landeg from Public Health England said much of the advice on beating the heat is “common sense and many people will want to enjoy the long spell of warm weather in the forecast”.
“Now is a really good time to think about what you can do to protect you and your family and friends’ health during summer,” added Dr Landeg.
“For some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and those with young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.
“And if you’re going outside for a prolonged period, remember UV is high at this time of year so think how the sun affects you and what you’d do to make sure you don’t get burned.”