This is a question frequently asked by employees whenever the temperature rises in the UK and the answer is yes AND no.
There is currently no law for maximum working temperatures or when it’s too hot to work (although there is a minimum working temperature of 16°c in offices) as some environments such as kitchens and glass works will typically operate at high temperatures. As the extreme weather we are currently experiencing is likely to become more common in the future, some unions & MPs are calling for a legal maximum workplace temperature.
However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does state that employers must apply appropriate controls depending on the nature of the workplace so that employees can work safely and temperatures must be reasonable inside buildings. You should also ensure your risk assessments are up to date and include workplace temperatures with reasonable actions that have been taken to mitigate highs and lows.
After all, hot & bothered employees are unlikely to be productive and may struggle to stay focused so it makes sense to ensure that they are as comfortable as they can be at work.
Some quick and easy ways you can keep your people cool today:
- Provide ice cold water (or bags of ice)
- Keep windows closed
- Turn off all non crucial electronic devices
- Extend deadlines where possible to avoid stress
- Treat them to an ice cream!