Workplace Temperature – What is the Legal requirement?
What is the legal requirement?
Employers are required to a reasonable indoor temperature at work, have a source of heating that does not produce hazardous or offensive fumes and a sufficient number of thermometers to determine the temperature in each work area indoors.
The Approved Code of Practice to the Workplace Health Safety & Welfare Regulations, set out that “workplace temperature should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius” and 13 degrees Celsius where work involves rigorous physical effort. It provides exemptions where impractical, such as rooms open to the outside or where food or medicines are kept chilled, covers practical measures for high temperature and areas not normally occupied along with provision for additional clothing if heating fails.
Other rules, laws and standards;
The guidance to The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
The Building Act and Building Regulations
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
The Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992
British, European and international standards relevant to working in thermal environments
HSE Website – http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/index.htm
Practical steps to keep everyone toastie
As well as appropriate clothing, limited use of blow heaters can help to raise the temperature in the morning and avoid cold spots in rooms. Talk to employees and get them involved in agreeing a temperature to set the thermostat or thermometer to. Everyone is not going to agree, so its helpful to obtain a consensus. Keep doors closed and fit draught excluders where required. Make sure you unplug all electric fan heaters and check they are not obstructed, as this is a common cause of fire! Be sympathetic of those people with lower metabolisms and less active roles as they will feel the cold more than active persons. Thermometers are cheap and as well as meeting the legal requirement, having one in each area at work helps to diffuse any complaints, when you have an accurate temperature reading.
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