Whether it’s scorching summer days or freezing temperatures in the depths of winter, changes in the weather inevitably prompt questions regarding working temperatures and employers’ responsibilities.

As an employer, you do need to provide staff with a safe and pleasant working environment and this includes providing ‘reasonable’ temperatures inside buildings.

It will come as no surprise that we are often asked what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ temperature and it does depend on the nature of the workplace. Legally, there isn’t an exact maximum temperature but the general consensus is that employees work best in temperatures between 16°C and 24°C. The TUC has called for a maximum workplace temperature of 30°C and 27°C where employees are carrying out strenuous work.

If temperatures do rise, employers are required to provide fans and ventilation, and when temperatures plummet to create very cold working conditions, heating is a legal requirement.

HOT WEATHER - Infographic V.2

So, if employees are complaining that they are becoming too hot this summer, here are a few tips to help keep them cool:

  • Introduce fans or consider installing air conditioning

  • Make sure windows can be opened

  • Ensure windows are fitted with blinds to shade staff from direct sunlight

  • Provide access to cold drinking water

  • Encourage employees to take regular drink breaks

  • It’s good practice to make suntan lotion and hats available for employees working outside

  • If appropriate, you can relax employee dress codes but not where PPE is required, as this must be worn, regardless of temperatures

  • Train staff to adjust their work rate or adjust working hours if their job is very physically demanding or outdoors in extreme hot weather.

  • For staff working outside, provide rest breaks in the shade or allow job rotation away from the full sun.

  • Consider drivers and ensure they are taking suitable fluids when out on the road.

  • Monitor and record temperatures and carry out appropriate risk assessments on how temperatures could affect employees’ health

For more information and advice on working temperatures, please get in touch.