The government has rejected recommendations that a maximum working temperature should be introduced for workers, disappointing many roofers who endured taxing working conditions over weeks of searing heat this summer.
The Environmental Select Committee published a report in July titled Heatwaves: adapting to climate change, which recommended that workers operating in temperatures above 28 degrees should have a reduced dress code and flexible working should be allowed.
However the government has rejected the recommendations out of hand.
This year’s hot summer highlighted the challenges faced by all construction workers operating both outdoors and indoors during this period.
While some employers made provisions such as flexible working, allowing additional breaks and providing free water to workers, other employers failed to make any additional provision for their workers.
In a comment from the trades union, Unite, national officer for construction, Jerry Swain said: “This shows the arrogance of government and just how out of touch the Tories are with the lives of ordinary workers, many of whom suffered extreme heat distress while at work this summer.
“The government received an entirely reasonable report from a cross party group of MPs and they just dismissed it out of hand. The government’s inaction is giving a green light to the cowboys who ignore workers’ welfare.”
There were several reports that employers operating in the roofing sector expected roofers to continue working in full PPE dress this summer, while temperatures soared to the mid-300Cs. On rooftops exposed to the full heat of the midday sun, temperatures can exceed 500C, making it imperative for roofer’s welfare that working practices are adjusted for as long as a heatwave lasts.