Legal Working Temperature in the UK
The European countries were completely unprepared for the recent weather change. Unusual heat waves and soaring temperatures are taking over the UK. We experienced a record-breaking hottest temperature in July 2022. The Met Office recorded 40.3°C at Coningsby, Lincolnshire. This was the first time that UK temperatures rose to 40 degrees.
This duly affected the school and work routines of the British people. We are not used to working under such conditions. It has raised concerns amongst the masses and the authorities. We are all wondering how we can adapt to comfortable working in these new conditions.
What is the legal working temperature in the UK?
As of today, there are no limitations to working temperatures in the UK. The government mentions that there is no set law. There is no definite minimum or maximum working temperature. The law is rather vague about setting a definite temperature. The temperatures should be reasonable enough not to disturb the worker’s productivity.
They have not defined these reasonable temperatures or when it is too hot or too cold to work. The government has directed employers to keep the working temperatures comfortable. The employees should resolve the issue with their employers.
What is the legal maximum working temperature in the UK?
The UK has not set any legal minimum temperature standards for indoor workplaces. The employers are only directed to keep the environment comfortable. They should set the indoor temperatures between 21-26 degrees Celsius. Hot temperatures are on the rise across the country. Workplaces are becoming more dependent on factors like ventilation and air conditioning.
There are some workplaces like foundries where high temperatures are very normal. A maximum temperature cannot be set. The productivity of these workplaces will be severely affected. However, it is possible to make the maximum temperatures flexible. Temperatures for workplaces depend on the nature of the job.
What is the lowest legal working temperature in the UK?
There is no law that protects employees. They are working under extremely low temperatures. The government has only given bare guidelines. Indoor temperatures should be set at 16 degrees Celsius. For outdoor workspaces, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. However, many workplaces fail to consider these guidelines. They make the employees work in harsh conditions. The UK can get very cold during the winter. There should be proper standards set for workplace heating by the government. Workplaces can often be lenient with heating or cooling measures. That is because there are no legal repercussions.
What is the law on working in cold temperatures in the UK?
The Workplace (Health and Safety Welfare) Regulations 1992 has worked on this. The workplace temperature should be set at a reasonable temperature. This can depend on the nature of the job. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has given some suggestions. The indoor temperatures should be set at 16 degrees Celsius during cold temperatures. But, there is no law in place to implement these guidelines.
There is one loophole in the law. This suggests that workplaces should have all basic necessities. This includes sanitation and clean water for the employee’s use. If the cold temperature outside freezes the pipes, there will be no access to running water. Similarly, the employees will be unable to make it to work due to heavy snowfall and road blockage. In such cases, they should ask them to stay at home. However, these are very rare cases. The employees cannot work productively in freezing conditions.
Workplace Specific Working Temperatures
Reasonable working temperatures may vary from each workplace. It depends on the nature of the job and the working hours. There are several factors that may require different working temperatures. These temperatures are appropriate for the field. For example, it can depend on the type of clothing the employees wear. Other factors include exposure to the sun or physical activities.
Office Working Temperature Guidelines
The HSE guidelines require indoor temperatures at 16°. An adequate heating and cooling system should make the workplace more comfortable. These heating and cooling systems should not release alarming levels of toxic fumes. They can affect the employee’s health.
Retail Working Temperature Guidelines
Retail workplaces can become very crowded with customers during rush hours. An adequate temperature in these spaces is also necessary. It keeps the employees and the customers comfortable. A reasonable temperature can provide a good experience. It will satisfy both the workers and customers.
Factory Working Temperature Guidelines
Factories are often operating heavy machinery and tools. These might need specific temperatures maintained to run properly. These jobs are very demanding and require the employees to be more physically active. These working conditions can become risk-prone, especially in the summer season. It is important to protect the employees by maintaining factory temperatures. They can avoid heat injuries. This includes heat stroke, cramps, etc.
The factories should have a central cooling system. Areas where the temperature is higher than average, should have a limited capacity. Employees should work in shifts. High intensities of hot or cold temperatures for longer periods are not good for workers.
Outdoor Working Temperature Guidelines
Outdoor workspaces need to take extra measures to protect their employees. They are more exposed to the harsh conditions of the rise and fall in temperatures. In the case of summer, employees should have adequate facilities. Pedestal fans and water coolers can keep them hydrated and avoid the risk of head injuries. In winter, employees should have portable heaters and appropriate protective clothing.
What is the legal requirement for businesses to provide heating and cooling?
Businesses should provide a comfortable and safe environment for their employees. The Health and Safety Executive’s Employment Protection Act gave employees these rights. They should protest if any working situation affects their health and safety. The employers should provide any necessary heating or cooling facilities as demanded. Access Interiors provides the best workplace solutions. All the demands of the employees can be fulfilled. More businesses are investing in commercial air conditioning systems. It is the absolute need of the hour.
How to Improve the Temperature in your Workplace
The temperature is rapidly changing in the UK. Every business is looking to make the workplace more comfortable. Access interiors have a wide range of services. This includes the installation of air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems. You can use their services to keep your employees comfortable. You can also design and install your own heating and cooling systems. Contact Access Interiors to discuss your requirements in detail.