Too hot to handle - driving cabs in the heat

2021-07-21 -
Array, ASLEF
A train moving underneath electrification wires, with a queue of cars to the left and an empty track to the right

As temperatures across the UK soar, many people are concerned about the difficulties of working in such hot conditions.

Currently, there is no law about a maximum safe working temperature, and even the laws that do cover workplace temperature don't apply to train drivers' cabs.

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As part of ASLEF's Better Driving Cabs campaign, we're calling for a change to the law so that all workplaces are included, and for the industry to work together with unions to improve cab design and make sure drivers are working at a safe and comfortable temperature.

We recently surveyed drivers on their cab conditions, and a 85% reported struggling with extreme heat in the cab, particularly during the summer.

When it's hot, drivers are sometimes forced to open windows (which makes it very noisy); are extremely uncomfortable or sweating, and often unable to access enough water to stay hydrated. We know that a comfortable driver is a safe driver, and we all want the railway to be focused on safety as a top priority.

The TUC has also called on the government to bring in better laws about workplace temperature, with a legal maximum and no exemptions, and for employers to ensure that their workers' conditions are a safe and reasonable temperature.

It's time to protect all workers, and for all of our cab conditions to be improved.