Temperature at work

With more snow forecast in the coming weeks, it seems an appropriate time to consider temperature in the workplace and the responsibilities of employers to provide a comfortable work environment for their employees. Under the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations, employers are under an obligation to provide a ‘reasonable’ working temperature. But what exactly is a reasonable working temperature?

Unfortunately, the regulations do not set out any strict minimum or maximum temperatures, because draughts, humidity and other factors can have a big impact on how cold the workplace actually feels. Guidelines suggest workplaces should be around 16°C at least (or 13°C where the work is mostly physical). Of course, it may be a requirement of certain businesses to maintain lower temperatures (for food production for example), which is fine, but even in these circumstances employers should consider taking some of the steps below to make employees more comfortable…

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