Trade unions call for maximum working temperature cap after EU heat wave deaths

Source(s)
Le Monde

Trade unions called Monday for the European Commission to impose maximum temperature limits for outdoor workers, after three people died while on shift in Madrid during last week's withering heat wave.

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According to research by the polling agency Eurofound, 23% of all workers across the EU were being exposed to high temperatures a quarter of the time. That figure rises to 36% in agriculture and industry and to 38% for construction workers. Previous research has linked high temperatures to a number of chronic conditions and an elevated risk of workplace injury.

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A 56-year-old warehouse worker in a Madrid suburb also died on Saturday after suffering heatstroke while on the job. Security forces on Thursday announced the death of a worker due to heat in Paracuellos de Jarama, on the outskirts of the capital. Last week, the city reached a deal with unions to restrict manual street cleaning work to below 39°C.

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"Heat waves can be fatal for people working unprotected from the sun, as we've already witnessed in Spain this summer," said Stahl. He said the EU needed continent-wide legislation on maximum working temperatures, since "the weather doesn't respect national borders".

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