Heat and work, the draft protocol: “Remodulating times and timetables. Stop in extreme cases”

Heat and work, the draft protocol: “Remodulating times and timetables.  Stop in extreme cases”

MILAN - Remodulated times and hours, risk assessment and company agreements. These are some of the points of the draft "Shared protocol for the adoption of measures to contain occupational risks from exposure to high temperatures in the workplace" that the Minister of Labour, Marina Calderone is preparing to bring discussions with the social partners on the table, in the round scheduled for tomorrow. Employers, "together with the possibility of using agile or remote working, and the social safety nets provided for by Legislative Decree 81", are called to "adapt the current organizational models to the need to contain the risks deriving from exposure to high temperatures, to those perceived as such, and to heat waves".

A revision of the work plans "to eliminate or, when not possible, reduce the direct exposure of workers to high temperatures or perceived as such" which provides for: the rescheduling of non-priority activities to be carried out outdoors on days with more favorable weather and climatic conditions; the planning of activities that require greater physical effort during the cooler moments of the day; the alternation of shifts; work stoppage in extreme cases when the risk is very high; start of work change".

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A reorganization that will be based on the assessment of a series of risks related to work: sunstroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke especially for workers over 65, for those with chronic pathologies, for those who take particular drugs, for those who report alteration of the physiological mechanisms of thermoregulation, for pregnant workers".

A protocol that will be declined in individual company protocols in the various working contexts with the participation of the company union representatives and the workers' safety representative and, when not foreseen, the regional ones.

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The plan developed by the government, it continues, aims to provide "operational indications" to manage the risks caused by activities in "not adequate" climatic conditions in a "preventive logic and not only on the occasion of the event: a sort of "guide in the technical/organisational choices to be made also for future years and not only for the current seasonal emergency". priority".

To be included in the Protocol and therefore also in the consequent company agreements, also the so-called "indoor" workers, for whom, it is stated, it is not possible to combine production with a conditioned ventilation system, from the construction site to the slaughtering of meat, from industrial bakery to blast furnaces. Within the revision of the work plans, there is also room for new criteria for breaks from work which must be "frequent" and as far as possible in completely shaded or air-conditioned areas.

The company doctor will supervise the risk for the workers who "will give indications to the worker and the employer" on the possibility of being able to sustain exposure to heat "as a result of which workers at risk" will have to be employed in lighter activities and with greater breaks ".

Always with a view to prevention, the Protocol provides a series of indications to employers, including on the need for hydration of workers and on protective equipment, breathable clothing, headgear and, on specific prescription from the competent doctor, even high protection sunscreens.

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