Imagine sitting in a hot office trying to work and finding it hard to concentrate. Is there any law that says how hot that office should be?
ACAS and HSE guidance is helpful in answering this question. In fact, in the UK there is no maximum temperature for a workplace, but the temperature should be “reasonable”. The Health & Safety Executive states “during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable”.
So, then we have to consider what is reasonable. This really depends on what work is being done in the workplace and on the type of workplace. A kitchen environment is normally much warmer than an air-conditioned office. For each workplace the idea of what is reasonable will be different. The HSE has some help on their website.
What can you do on a practical level?
- If you have blinds or curtains, close them to keep the heat of the sun out. Provide suitable drinking water, and encourage people to keep drinking to stay hydrated.
- If you have a dress code, why not be a bit more relaxed about it? Allow for the employees to go without a tie or to wear easier-fitting shoes.
- If your employees work outside, make sure they have appropriate clothing and use sunscreen.
- Provide as many fans or other air cooling equipment.
- If you have vulnerable workers, allow them to take short breaks at regular intervals.
- If you have workers who would fast for Ramadan, be aware that they will feel better first thing and schedule meetings for morning times.
And if you need further advice – give us a call and we will be happy to help.
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