For the rest of the week across the UK we can pretty much expect to continue to bask in soaring temperatures and glorious blue skies. For employers who have well ventilated premises, these scorching days should not pose much difficulty but if your premises are not well equipped to deal with the rising temperatures you, may find the following points useful:
- The law does not state a minimum or maximum workplace temperature.
- The temperature inside workplace buildings should be reasonable.
- What is reasonable will be dependent on the workplace environment and the work activity carried out. For example, a reasonable temperature for an office may be 16 degrees Celsius or 13 degrees Celsius, if physically demanding work is required.
- Carry out a thermal comfort survey to see whether your workers are happy with the temperature.
- If thermal discomfort is present, carry out a risk assessment and determine whether you can eliminate or reduce the thermal discomfort.
- Check the British Standards for relevant guidance about thermal comfort relating to your work activity.
- Consider relaxing the dress code and allowing workers to wear less formal clothes.
- Ensure that the workers have plenty of water to drink.
- Where physical work is being performed, offer regular breaks.
- Ensure that workers who are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) continue to do so, but where possible allow these staff to rotate their work and do tasks where PPE is not required.
Essentially, always keep in mind that a “reasonable” workplace temperature is ultimately a balance between common sense and your duty to provide a safe work environment.
If you would like more information on our Law Hub for SME's, follow this link.
“A simple way of estimating the level of thermal comfort in your workplace is to ask your employees or their safety representatives (such as unions or employee associations) if they are satisfied with the thermal environment i.e. to use the thermal comfort checklist“