«Why is there no legally binding maximum workplace temperature?» Workplace temperature is one of the potential hazards employers face in order to comply with their legal obligations. Employers should consult with workers or their representatives to find effective ways to deal with high temperatures. Betts said: «I agree that appropriate controls may include providing additional water; coolants; flexible work arrangements; changes in work patterns; additional breaks; Sunscreen and PPE adapted. However, these controls should be put in place after a rigorous and thorough risk assessment – which has long been a legal requirement for employers – and do not need to be enshrined in additional legislation. «Although there is no legal working temperature in the UK, you need to make sure your workplace is a comfortable and safe place for your employees. In this article, we cover the recommended working temperatures for indoor and outdoor work, what the law says, and the health risks of heat and cold for your employees. Although there is no legal working temperature, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that employers must provide an «appropriate» temperature in the workplace. The approved code of conduct suggests that the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If the work is associated with intense physical exertion, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are not absolute legal requirements; The employer is responsible for determining what reasonable comfort is required in the particular circumstances. There are currently no legal limits for workplace temperatures in the UK, although the Occupational Health and Safety Management Regulations 1999 emphasise that temperature is a potential hazard to workers. The approved code of conduct states that the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16°C or 13°C if the work requires strict physical exertion. However, these temperatures are not legal requirements, although employers are required to determine and provide «reasonable comfort» in their workplaces.
Indoor temperatures in the workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which require employers to provide an «adequate» temperature in the workplace. This guide provides information to explain employment law on the legal minimum working temperature for work in the UK. The Code of Conduct does not include recommended maximum temperatures due to differences between working environments such as offices and foundries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that it is still possible to operate safely at high temperatures, provided proper controls are in place. In some workplaces, temperature extremes are not seasonal, but are caused by work, as in some manufacturing processes. These temperatures can have serious health effects if not managed effectively. Section 61 of the HSE ACOP L24 for Welfare Regulations 1992 proposes that the minimum indoor temperature should be at least 16°C. This drops to 13°C for those who perform physical work or where there is some need to control temperatures. Examples include refrigerated/frozen food or foundry workers. She added: «High UV exposure also means that outdoor workers have a much higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Simply allowing more breaks and providing sunscreen and protective clothing such as hats with neck covers can help reduce this risk. In the end, there must be a legal maximum working temperature, just as we have a legal minimum working temperature. And that`s in the employer`s interest – workers who overheat won`t be at their best. «There is currently no legal maximum workplace temperature in the UK. You are required by law to provide an «adequate» temperature to keep the workplace comfortable, which is between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius. However, it depends on the environment and not just the temperature. You need to consider factors such as air movement, ventilation, and air conditioning. These are not legal requirements, but if you stick to them, you`ll make sure your employees feel comfortable and productive. GMB also called for workplace adjustments during heatwaves, including flexible work and travel arrangements, extra breaks, access to water and flexible dress codes.