Is it too hot to work?

Not everyone welcomes the current spell of sunny weather! It can be unbearable if you’re working in a workplace without air conditioning or insufficient ventilation.

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, there are no legal requirements for minimum or maximum working temperatures, but employers are obliged to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace

As in many areas of the law “reasonable” is a word used to provide flexibility in the obligations of employers. The regulations will accept that in certain roles, temperatures can go very high or very low; for example high temperatures in foundries and low temperatures in refrigerated rooms.

The HSE provide guidance which suggests the minimum temperature should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius but that if the work involves rigorous physical effort the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. There is no defined maximum temperature.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees and take action where necessary. Employers should consult with employees to establish sensible means to cope with high temperatures as with other risks. This may mean introducing fans, ensuring employees have access to drinking water, taking regular breaks, adapting what they wear to work as long as appropriate for client-facing interactions and potentially, where possible, working from home. If employees have any special needs or are particularly vulnerable further support may need to be put in place.

If you wish to discuss this subject further please contact us on 0800 9995 121.

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