Tag Archives: heatwave

Tom Arms’ World Review

Europe is burning sounds like the title of an apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster. Unfortunately it is an accurate newspaper headline as the continent this week sweltered in record temperatures.

In normally temperate Britain the thermometer topped 104 fahrenheit. In Spain it reached 109. Spontaneous fires were widespread. The London fire brigade reported its busiest day since the Blitz. Grass and forest fires broke out in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. In Greece alone there were 390 forest fires in one week.

The high pressure system responsible for the heatwave is now over Poland and is expected to continue eastwards reaching China in August before eventually being cooled down by the Pacific waters. This follows record temperatures in the Middle East and South Asia and forest fires in California, the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Australia.

Climate change scientists say:  “Get used to it. This is a taste of things to come.”


Joe Biden – America’s 79-year-old president – has covid. It is not surprising. In fact it would be more surprising if he didn’t. Covid has dropped out of the US headlines but not off the health charts. As of Friday nearly a third of the American population – 91,767,460 – have had a confirmed case of coronavirus. 1,050,702 of them have died, including 592 of them this Wednesday alone.

America decided months ago to stop the mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing and reduced pressure for vaccinations. They were going to learn to live with covid to save the economy. Since then the number of cases has risen dramatically.

The increase in coronavirus cases has not been confined to American shores. Other countries governments are also treating the pandemic as more or less done and dusted. But there have been significant increases in confirmed cases and deaths in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, India, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore…. Someone obviously forgot to tell the virus that it was time to pack up.


There is no love lost between Japan and South Korea. In fact, there has been pretty much a hate-hate relationship ever since the Japanese warlord Toyatomi Hideyoshi raped and pillaged his way across the Korean peninsula in the 16th century.

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Hot, hot, hot….Willie Rennie calls for maximum workplace temperatures

How are you all coping with the heat?

We are sweltering up here and I am very conscious that we are 10 degrees cooler than most of you in England and Wales. That must be incredibly uncomfortable

We had to stop the dogs going upstairs because it was so warm they were panting all the time. They are basically being kept most of the time in the living room with an air conditioning thing going.

I had a much better night than I expected. All humans and dogs seemed to sleep reasonably. You could tell it was it was hot though. No matter what the temperature, you will normally find me tucked in with the duvet up to my neck. Last night I lay on top of it – until 4 am when I got into bed properly cos my toes were cold.

Sadly I had to go out this morning to my local health centre. It was like an oven. The person who deprived me of my blood had two fans going and was still uncomfortably hot. I felt a bit guilty that I was able to escape to the air-conditioned supermarket while they were stuck in there all day.

So I was pleased to see that Willie Rennie has called for a maximum workplace temperature of 30 degrees and 27 degrees if strenuous work is involved.

At present UK government guidance suggests a minimum of 16ºC or 13ºC if employees are doing physical work but there’s no guidance for a maximum temperature limit. Instead employers just have to commit to “keeping the temperature at a comfortable level”.

However a report from the TUC suggests that short of someone actually being injured or killed it’s unlikely to actually be enforced, despite excessive temperatures being associated with a loss of concentration, increased accidents, falling productivity and risks to health.

Willie’s call would give employers a statutory duty to introduce effective control measures, such as installing ventilation or moving staff away from windows and sources of heat, in line with WHO recommendations for maximum temperatures for working in comfort. Willie has also filed a parliamentary motion which urges Scottish ministers to raise the issue with their UK counterparts.

Willie said:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments
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