How heat will impact our workplace: 2024 Report

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Video transcript: How heat will impact our workplace

Introduction to how heat will impact our workplace

How does heat impact how we work? Hi, my name is Andrew and in our report, we look at exactly this question.

As this graph shows, in the report, since 1884 , the UK average temperature has consistently gone up, and since 2003, we’ve had the hottest 10 years on record. And of course, yes, there’s more bad news. UK extremes of temperature are changing much faster. Things are bad, and they’re going to get worse.


This then has an impact on three things. Three themes. Productivity, health, and transport. And even if you have aircon in place, we should still expect it to reduce productivity. Indeed, for every one degree increase in temperature, we should expect 0.83% reduction in productivity, even if we have aircon.

Aircon then also draws lots of power from the grid, and power outages is possibly something we’re going to see much more often in the future. In 2023 , the UK Power Network surveyed 2000 households and found that 23% of respondents had experienced a power outage in the last months. That means power outages is going to be an issue for us. Then there is the matter of children. Children in schools often don’t have aircon, and this means that many children are sent home because of high heat. Over in the US, they see six to seven, on average, days every single year being called heat days. And over in the US, they’ve also just passed a law in New York which says that if temperatures get to 31 degrees, all children should go home. Now degrees is not that infrequent a temperature anymore.


Then we have the impact of heat on our health and vulnerable people. We should all be thinking about SWEP, Severe Weather Emergency Protocols. We’ll see them much more activated initially in public spaces where we’re going to have cool tents, and cool spaces. These are areas that people that work and live outside a lot can go and get shelter and recover from the heat. But we should be thinking about how we in organisations help people that are travelling into the workplace recover from that heat.


Then there’s the impact of heat on our transport system. And, interestingly, planes don’t manage heat that well. When it hots up, when it heats up, the air gets thinner, which means that planes find it more difficult to take off. : They need more runway, and when they do get lift, the lift is more shallow. This means that very often, when it’s really hot, planes will need to take alternative diverted routes to avoid high buildings and mountains.  Then there are our lovely trains. Our trains are impacted by heat, because very often, we will find in extreme temperatures, there’s an increased likelihood of rails buckling.

If the temperature goes above 36 degrees, we should expect delays on our trains, because they undergo a temporary speed restriction. And then there’s our vehicles. Heat can melt asphalt. It can also get concrete to expand to the point that it buckles, and that leaves ridges in the road, which can help axles to break and lead to accidents. Also, our tyres are more likely to explode.

Take action

What then can we do about the impact of heat on our workplace? :The report looks at the next steps that we should take over the next 12 months, and it helpfully outlines some risk assessment ideas.

Heat risk assessment

It looks at the impact of heat on people and our facilities, and of course the mitigations that we need to have in place, as well as the impact of heat on transport.  If you’d like to get the report in full.

Please go to, scan the QR code, that’s another way of going directly to the report. And if you like this video, please say so on social media. Like it, and leave comments. My name is Andrew, thanks for watching.

How heat will impact our workplace: References

















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