Achieving optimum workplace conditions can be a challenge, but the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover what you should do to make your workplace’s conditions adequate.
A frequently asked question is “What are the maximum and minimum temperatures a workplace should be?” Of course, there are multiple answers, which all depend on what work is being done in the workplace.
As a matter of fact, the regulations do not state a minimum or maximum temperature that a workplace should be. However, they do give suggestions as to what they think is suitable for different types of work.
Minimum temperatures in the workplace
The regulations suggest that the minimum temperature at work should be 16°C for less physically-demanding work. However, the minimum temperature a workplace should be for a physically-demanding job should be around 13°C, because workers in these roles are more likely get overheated.
Maximum temperatures in the workplace
A maximum figure is tough to pinpoint because the average temperature in certain environments - like foundries - are significantly higher than that of an office. In environments that are significantly hotter, you can take certain measures to control temperature (i.e ventilation).
What can employers do to keep staff comfortable?
There are a number of ways that employers can help stay comfortable when the workplace temperatures are too hot or cold.
You could allow staff to work from home where the temperature is more comfortable, or if that isn't possible, be flexible with their hours so that they can work around when the temperature is at it's worst.
Where working flexibility isn't an option, employers can relax dress codes, adjust workstations, open/close windows, and turn on/off radiators and A/C units.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states:
During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.
To find out what a the reasonable working temperature is for your workplace, you need to carry out a thermal comfort risk assessment.
Additionally, there’s a HSE heat stress checklist available online if you are working in a heat stress situation. This means you can act according to the result of the risk assessment by implementing appropriate controls.
Online workplace training
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