Temperature in the Workplace – What Does the Law Say?
Temperatures of indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
The government have said that indoor workplace temperatures must be “reasonable” during working hours, with guidance on minimum temperatures suggesting a low of 16C, or 13C if employees are doing physical work.
When it comes to higher temperatures, health and safety at work law says that companies have to keep the temperature “at a comfortable level”. It is the employer’s duty to take care of managing health and safety in the workplace by providing clean and fresh air to the workspace.
According to The Health and Safety Executive, a “meaningful” figure can’t be given for a top temperature because of the workplace environments found in industries such as foundries. The HSE say that, so long as appropriate controls are present, it’s possible to remain safe whilst working in these environments.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also requires employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to health and safety of their employees and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable.
The government have announced that they have no plans to bring forward proposals for a maximum permitted working temperature. This means that the sole responsibility of employee safety and comfort in terms of temperature is with the employer.
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