Blog25 July 2016

Air conditioning a “human right”, say US lawyers

Last week, amidst the hottest period of 2016 so far, there were countless instances reported of office staff leaving work because conditions were too uncomfortable for them to remain.

This widespread exodus prompted the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to call for legislation to be passed that would make it illegal for employers to keep people at work when temperatures exceed 30°C.

Such an enactment is not yet in place, but all companies in the UK are compelled to provide a working environment which could reasonably be considered both safe and practical. Of course, such regulations can appear subjective and will vary from industry to industry.

The call for reform comes at a time when an American law firm is heavily embroiled in several civil rights cases following the deaths of inmates at Texan prisons.

Representatives of Edwards Law have been quick to point out that, according to the country’s National Weather Service, heat kills more people than floods, lightning and natural disasters combined.

They argue that Texas, unlike other state jails, do not provide air conditioning to their incarcerated – leading to deaths every year.

Jeff Edwards and Scott Medlock – two trial lawyers currently associated with Austin-based Edwards Law – explained the consequences in plain terms in a recent blog for news publication TIME.

In a damning summary, they said: “Imprisoning people in buildings where there is no thermostat to keep the temperature below 90 (sic) isn’t just uncomfortable, nor is it just dangerous – it’s a violation of a human right.”

With summer very much in full swing and seasonal temperatures set to remain in the 20s over the next two weeks at least, now is the perfect time to ensure your workplace is cool enough for your most important assets – the staff. Call 0800 211 611 today to get a free quotation or discuss the specifications of a particular project with our professional team.