350 calls about heat distress in workplace
13 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — Trade union confederation FNV expressed shock on Thursday at the number and nature of calls it has received from workers who are suffering in the unusually warm weather.
The FNV said there have been 350 calls to a special telephone line in the last four days about the distress being caused by the 25 degree plus conditions.
“Many of the situations reported to us were simply dangerous and it is disgusting to hear that employers are not allowing people to go home,” FNV’s health and safety expert Jan Verhagen said.
High temperatures can cause loss of concentration, headaches and in some cases breathing difficulties and fainting, he said.
A driver working with people with disabilities reported that the temperature in his vehicle rose to 50 degrees. “It does not bear to think about what could happen if this driver faints,” Verhagen said.
As a large number of calls came from people working in retail, the FNV sent representatives to Groningen city centre in the north of the Netherlands to advise shop personnel on how to cope with working in the heat.
The union group is also advising its members on what can be done to compel employers to take measures to combat the heat in their work environments. Employees should be allowed to stop work if a company fails to act while the temperature rises about 35 degrees, the FNV said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news