Too hot or too cold? What temperature should your workplace be at

17 August 2018

What a blistering summer we have had so far! Whilst for most its been a great time to head to the beach or get the BBQ out, for employers and employees this can and has led to tricky office situations with employees complaining it’s too hot to work and employers attempting to manage the situation. What then is the law surrounding temperatures in the workplace?

Regulation 7 of The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 provides particular requirements including dealing with temperature in indoor workplaces. The Regulation states:

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

The law effectively does not give a minimum or maximum but simply states the temperature should be “reasonable”. Most commentators would suggest “reasonable” would be around 16C (or 13C if the jobs requires rigorous physical effort)

Despite the above, it seems highly unlikely any actual temperatures (maximum or minimum) will be provided by the government. With the range of working environments such as office, warehouse, bakery and factories to name a few it would be near impossible for the government to legislate on what would constitute a reasonable temperature.

As an employer, if you do have a significant number of employees complaining about the temperature employers would be well advised to undertake a risk assessment so determine if any reasonable steps can be taken to ensure a better comfort level.