Minimum or Maximum Temperature in the Workplace?

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Minimum or Maximum Temperature in the Workplace

Have you for any reason considered this – “What is the minimum/maximum temperature in the workplace?”

This short article as extracted from the Health and Safety Executive website will give insight into the question.

Here is the answer – What is the Minimum or Maximum Temperature in the Workplace?

The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:

16°C or 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort.

A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present. Factors other than air temperature, i.e. radiant temperature, humidity, and air velocity, become more significant and the interaction between them becomes more complex with rising temperatures.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lays down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment.

Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:

‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’

However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, or a warehouse.

These Regulations only apply to employees – they do not apply to members of the public, for example, about temperature complaints from customers in a shopping center or cinema.

Read Also: Heat stress: Symptoms and prevention

What the law says about average temperature in the workplace 

Temperatures in the indoor workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace.

Minimum workplace temperature

The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are not absolute legal requirements; the employer must determine what reasonable comfort will be in the particular circumstances.

Higher workplace temperatures

A meaningful figure cannot be given at the upper end of the scale due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present. Factors other than the air temperature, ie radiant temperature, humidity, and air velocity, become more significant and the interaction between them become more complex with rising temperatures.

Read AlsoHeat Cramps: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments & First Aid

In addition to the Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable.

The temperature of the workplace is one of the potential hazards that employers should address to meet their legal obligations. Employers should consult with employees or their representatives to establish sensible means to cope with high temperatures.

I believe the question – “What is the minimum/maximum temperature in the workplace?” has been answered.

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