What Are The Rules Regarding Maximum Temperatures in The Workplace?

By Gary Smith


We are often asked what the rules are about maximum (and minimum) working temperatures in the workplace. Is there a temperature where staff have to be sent home?

The short answer is that there are no specific laws dealing with this question. Instead it is left to all employers to act ‘reasonably’ which of course can depend on the circumstances. HSE guidance states that for those working indoors a minimum temperature of 16C should be maintained or 13C if the work involves physical exertion although with mitigating measures you can work at below these temperatures. 

There is though no specific guidance as to when it is too hot to work. Instead you must look to a general duty of care towards staff and again to take mitigating measures where you can. Examples could be providing air conditioning, fans, protective clothing, access to cold drinks etc. Each workplace is different.

Whatever approach employers wish to take, you should look to undertake a risk assessment and document this along with your other health and safety paperwork. This will help to demonstrate your thought processes when putting in your mitigating measures and provide a frame of reference for all staff to make suggestions and ideas on how the situation can be improved.

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