Management at Wyevale Garden Centre in Ramsgate have vowed to take action after complaints that staff have been enduring 30c heat throughout their shifts.
Temperatures at the Montefiore Avenue building were becoming ‘unbearable,’ according to staff who also say the air conditioning unit is broken.
One person told The Isle of Thanet News: “A pregnant staff member and people with medical conditions are working in the heat and staff are going home with severe headaches.”
A Wyevale spokesman has pledged the air conditioning will be mended today (July 25) and five mobile units will also be brought in.
The spokesman said: ““Our colleagues’ and customers’ welfare is very important to us and we take this very seriously. Our garden centre manager has been closely following the situation at Ramsgate.
“We have been providing our colleagues with additional breaks and can confirm that engineers will be coming to Ramsgate (July 25) to ensure the A/C units are fixed. Additionally, as we’re expecting prolonged hot weather, we are installing another five mobile units as soon as possible.
“It should also be noted that we had an Environmental Health Officer visit the centre last week. In the EHO’s report, he acknowledged that WGC is doing all it can in this unusually hot weather.”
County councillor Karen Constantine said she has been contacted by numerous people over working conditions across the isle during the heatwave and has been advising that businesses introduce micro-breaks for staff and provide a shaded area.
She said: “The TUC (Trades Union Congress) is planning to call for a law on temperatures at work.
“But employers can act without it involving a lot of cost. They need to assess working practices in the building and the needs of staff and customers.
“They can make sure staff have frequent micro-breaks with a cool, shady area and make sure there is plenty of water so staff can rehydrate. This is a simple and quick easy fix.
“There should be a risk assessment on working conditions and individual assessments for anyone with a pre-existing health condition or disability and pregnant women.
“I also think managers should walk the walk and spend some time on the shop floor, or kitchens etc, so they can experience the conditions.”
The heat has also resulted in the temporary closure of the Garlinge GP surgery. The Canterbury Road surgery, which is run by The Limes Medical Centre, was closed from yesterday (July 24) until July 27.
A Limes spokesman said: “The closure is due to the type of building used at the Garlinge branch and the current heat. The inside of the temporary buildings are recording 31c and this is too hot for both the patients and staff.
“We will continue to review this and hope that the full service will resume soon.”
Patients will be seen at The Limes Medical Centre.