What is the maximum temperature to work in an office, are there legal limits and what can you do if you’re too hot?

AS Britain continues to swelter in boiling hot temperatures we look at what the regulations are and what your rights are if you are.

Office workers have some rights enshrined in law.

Hopefully office workers won’t need to resort to desperate measures to keep cool
Getty – Contributor

What is the maximum temperature to work in an office?

There isn’t one.

The regulations under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations Act 1992 say employers must maintain a reasonable temperature where you work but there is no maximum temperature.

There is a minimum temperature of 16C, which falls to 13C if your work involves “considerable physical activity”.

The Health and Safety Executive adds: “A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries.”

Those who work in food cold stores or bakeries can expect extremes of temperature as part if the job.

But generally employers have a duty to “keep the temperature at a comfortable level” and provide clean and fresh air.

The TUC has called for the introduction of an upper limit on workplace temperature so that employers would be forced to act when the temperature inside reaches 24°C.

The TUC has called for a maximum temperature to be introduced for office workers

What can you do if you are too hot?

The health and safety executive state if a “significant number” of employees are complaining about the heat, your employer should carry out a risk assessment and act on the results.

If you’re a vulnerable employee – for example pregnant or menopausal, or you need to wear protective equipment so can’t take off layers – that has to be taken into account.

If you have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for your job the HSE recommend several other aspects to be considered, including allowing work to take place at a slower rate, rotate staff more frequently and allow longer recovery times.

Bosses have to ensure workers have access to fresh drinking water.

Bosses are expected to maintain a ‘reasonable temperature’ in the work place


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