In the current extreme temperatures, how should employers in Luxembourg ensure the wellbeing of workers? This article sets out guidance from the labour inspection service.
In a press release dated 8 August 2020, the Luxembourg Ministry of Health announced a red alert (high temperature warning) in the context of the Heat Wave Plan.
The recommendations of the Labour Inspectorate ('Inspection du Travail et des Mines'(ITM)) for employers in the event of high temperatures or a heatwave are set out below.
For outdoor work
- Plan or set up shaded areas that are well ventilated if possible.
- Provide cool drinking water for those working on their premises. This must be in adequate quantities to allow workers to drink enough to compensate for dehydration (three or four litres of water per day, depending on the work). It is a good idea to drink small amounts regularly.
- Reduce the number of workstations requiring sustained and prolonged physical activity near or in contact with sheet metal, concrete or tarred surfaces, in direct sunlight.
- Provide mechanical assistance for heavy work, such as handling machinery.
- Make sure that wearing personal protection is compatible with high temperatures (e. g. using phytosanitary products, working in forests, pruning, etc.);
- Ensure that appropriate clothing is worn for construction sites that do not require special personal protective clothing: headgear that protects the neck, loose, light, airy, light-coloured clothing, sunglasses and sun cream if necessary.
- Use air-conditioned vehicles or self-propelled vehicles if possible.
- Where possible, adapt personal protective equipment to the heat: for example, safety shoes rather than safety boots.
In indoor workplaces
- Monitor the ambient temperature, especially in enclosed spaces.
- Insulate buildings or premises against the heat (blinds, shutters, wall insulation, sun protection films on glass walls etc.);
- Set up work equipment that produces heat in a dedicated, ventilated area, insulate walls or hot pipes, ensure heat or hot steam emissions are absorbed, etc.
- Provide staff with resources to combat the heat (extra fans, etc.).
- Set up air-conditioned areas in the workplace.
- Provide sufficient quantities of cool (10 to 15°C) drinking water.
The ITM has also pointed out that Luxembourg labour law stipulates that companies may, under certain conditions, use the weather-related layoff scheme.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.