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cause a variety of illnesses and physical discomfort, ranging from dizziness, fainting, heat cramps and in some cases, even fits. When temperatures rise higher than ‘too high’ the risk of heat stroke and collapsing is heightened, and when blood temperatures rise above 41 degrees Celsius, delirium and confusion can easily occur. Despite the lack of legalities in this sector of UK law, the World Health Organisation has recommended that 24 degrees Celsius is the maximum temperature for comfortable indoor working, with anything over 26 degrees Celsius being deemed unacceptable. Meanwhile, the TUC has called for a maximum temperature of 30 degrees. Of course, while a large amount of readers will agree with these claims, there are some who will challenge the need for this, stating that in the world of full-time employment, for those who want to keep a steady income, work is crucial. For those completing strenuous work, or for those in an office without air conditioning, employment continues on a daily basis, and so the question remains: would incorporating a maximum temperature for school working be beneficial in fully preparing students for a life of full-time employment? Either way, precautions should be taken, one of which would be to ensure all rooms in the building have a properly designed and installed air conditioning system. A properly maintained air conditioning system is a very effective
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way of reducing temperatures, although these systems are, more often than not, very expensive and aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. Also, in some buildings this method isn’t possible, either because of the age of the building or because of planning restrictions. Alternatively, redesigning the work or education area and adding the installation of fans is another avenue to go down. Often simply moving people away from windows or reducing the rise in heat by installing reflective blinds to windows is another effective way of being precautious.
Equally, the installation of water coolers will provide students with unlimited access to hydration throughout the day – an incredibly vital element of staying healthy during the summer period. A large amount of schools and colleges will only allow students to drink outside a classroom or during given breaks, and so being more lenient by allowing students to drink bottled or cups of water during lesson will add to the list of successful methods to take. If there’s one thing that school bodies are strict on with regards to their students and employees, it’s dress codes. Teachers are of course, expected to dress in a smart attire, and uniforms are compulsory for students. While some schools have a more casual uniform for their pupils – black trousers and polo tops – some enforce blazers and long sleeved shirts. Permitting a more laid back dress code for both teachers and students will allow them to keep cooler in such high temperatures. Even if it’s against school policy, it’s definitely something that should be considered! The list could go on – sensible timetabling, starting and finishing school times, appropriate changes to school lunch menus – and each and every school body should ensure that at least some of these changes are enforced to ensure a productive and generally more ecthical educational environment as we head for an extremely hot summer in the UK.
Sussex Business Times - Issue 414 - July 2017