Employers have obligation to make sure temperature in workplace is reasonable

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With temperatures soaring during the summer heatwave, it can be hard to concentrate and even harder to work.

Weather warnings for the heatwave have been issued to alert people of the extremely high temperatures we’re currently experiencing, making sure everyone stays safe in the heat.

Whether you’re working from home or from an office, working in the heat can be hard, particularly for those who work outdoors.

According to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers have a legal obligation to ensure the temperature in a workplace is “reasonable”.

Stating: "During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable."

Employers have to ensure they maintain a reasonable temperature as well as ensuring their air condition is providing clean and fresh air.

Although there is currently no law regarding workplace temperatures, the government has also given suggestions of the correct working environment temperatures.

Employers must ensure they follow correct health and safety procedures, allowing for a comfortable working environment for their employees.

This includes as set out on the government website:

  • Keeping the temperature at a comfortable level
  • Providing clean and fresh air

The Trades Union Congress, in 2006 recommended that a workplace should stay within a maximum temperature of 30C and 27C for those employers who participate in strenuous work.

These suggestions came as a concern of health and safety in a workplace when temperatures soar.

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The TUC also recommended that workplaces should aim to keep temperatures below 24C for employees and should listen to anyone who expresses any discomfort from the heat.

A range of different workplace temperatures has also been recommended by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.

They suggest a working temperature of 13C for those participating in heavy work in factories, 16C for light work in factories, 18C for hospital wards and in shops and 20C for people working in offices.

The government guidance also suggests that employers undergoing physical activity should have a minimum temperature of 16C or 13C.

So although there is no law specifying the highest temperature to work in, there is a matter of health and safety to employees for when temperatures peak.

All employees should feel comfortable enough in the heat to work and employers should ensure the correct health and safety measures are being followed.

  • Heatwave
  • UK Weather

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