As the summer approaches and temperatures rise (or the air conditioning gets turned up a little too much) we look at how this may affect working conditions and what rights employees have when it comes to minimum and maximum working temperatures.
Is there a legal minimum or maximum working temperature?
No, government guidance states that there are no legal limits for minimum or maximum working temperatures. So, there is no official guidance that states situations in which it would be considered too hot or cold to work.
Maximum working temperatures
There is no official guidance on temperatures which would be considered too hot to work in. But employers have a duty to keep indoor workplaces at a reasonable temperature all year round.
Minimum working temperatures
Whilst there is no legal limit for minimum temperatures when it comes to work, guidance suggests that the minimum temperature in a workplace should be 16ºC. If the work requires physical effort, then the minimum working temperature should be 13ºC.
If you employer gets a bit carried away with the air conditioning in summer, then have a chat with them – getting the temperature right for everyone can be a challenge!
What are employers’ duties regarding temperatures in the workplace?
When it comes to temperatures in indoor workplaces, these are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Under this regulation, employers have a legal obligation to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace.
Amongst others, employers’ duties include:
- keeping the temperature at a comfortable level
- providing clean and fresh air
Additionally, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 employers have a duty to carry out an assessment of risks to the health and safety of their employees. One of these areas will be working temperatures as this can be a possible hazard to wellbeing.
What if you are working from home?
If you are working from home it is likely you will be without some of the amenities that offices and other workplaces benefit from such as air conditioning. But you still have the same right to a ‘reasonable’ temperature regardless of whether you are in the workplace or working remotely. An employer’s duty of care under Health and Safety law still applies to those who are working from home.
If you do find that temperatures are too high whilst you are working from home, the best thing to do is to raise this with your employer. They should carry out a risk assessment and help you to come up with sensible ways to stay cool in hot weather. Or vice versa in cold weather.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide a range of steps that can be taken when people are too hot or too cold whilst working indoors.
As the summer approaches and temperatures (hopefully) rise, as an employer you must be mindful of ensuring a comfortable working environment, whether your employees are working from the workplace or from home. Ensure that you fulfil your duty of care and manage risks carefully. Another key element of your risk management strategy will be ensuring that you have the right business insurance in place. Chat to our specialist teams on 020 8290 9080 or email us at email@example.com if you are reviewing your business insurance.