Working during a heatwave
18th July 2022
With record temperatures in the UK & many schools closing you may wonder about workplace regulations during a heatwave?
The answer is that the law does not state a maximum (or a minimum) temperature.
However, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that: ‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’
Guidance suggests a minimum of 16 degrees or 13 degrees if employee are doing physical work. There is no guidance for a maximum temperature limit.
The Health & Safety executive (HSE) states: In addition to the Workplace Regulations, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and take action where necessary and where reasonably practicable. The temperature of the workplace is one of the potential hazards that employers should address to meet their legal obligations. Employers should consult with employees or their representatives to establish sensible means to cope with high temperatures.
Employers should do all they can to keep employees comfortable such as allowing them to wear casual clothes or relaxing their uniform policy, varying working hours or letting staff work from home where possible when extreme temperatures are expected.
Employees should discuss any concerns with their management or trade union representatives.
Visit the HSE website for further information: https://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/law.htm