Set Maximum Work Temperatures Now


All workers deserve to work in safe temperatures. In the week that many areas of Europe endure another heatwave, we call on the next European Commission to take this issue seriously and introduce a legislative instrument that recognises this increased risk to workers and provides a framework for protecting workers. Weather conditions do not respect national borders and so European action is required. Yet, unlike in other parts of the world, Europe has no binding legislation on safe maximum working temperatures. There are wide variations between the maximum (and minimum) permissible working temperatures across different Member States and across sectors and companies. Average temperatures are increasing as a result of climate change exposing workers to more frequent and more intense heat waves. Aggressively reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent priority to keep our planet habitable but climate change is already here, and workers must be protected from its consequences. In December 2018, the ETUC Executive Committee adopted its policy resolution on the need for EU action to protect workers from high temperatures[1].  The ETUC is also running a project on adaptation to climate change and the world of work to better understand how climate change consequences are impacting workers and how trade unions can anticipate them[2].


[1] ETUC Resolution on the Need for EU Action to Protect Workers from High Temperatures:

[2] ETUC Resolution “Key demands to build a just transition and boost climate action after EU elections”