As we enter the coldest months of the year, we have had a few questions from some of our readers on the subject of workplace temperatures with the main question being is there a minimum workplace temperature required by law? It certainly is a topic that will stimulate debate so we decided to consult our sources and use the information that we have gathered for this week’s blog. Some workplaces can become unbearably cold in the winter so is your employer breaking the law?
Reasonable Temperature in the Workplace
Quite simply, there is no law for a minimum or maximum temperature in the workplace. This can cause frustration for employees who perhaps feel that their own workplaces are unreasonable in terms of the temperatures that they have to work in. However, there are some guidelines for what a reasonable temperature within the workplace is in the UK. We decided to take a look at these guidelines to see what information was available.
The guidance articles that we found from various regulatory bodies suggested that workplace temperatures should be a minimum of 16 degrees or 13 degrees if employees are doing physical work. There was no guidance available for maximum temperature but the guidelines did emphasise that employees should stick to health and safety at work law by ensuring that the temperature is kept at a comfortable level and that there is always fresh and clean air.
Should there Be Laws on Minimum Workplace Temperatures?
We were actually pretty surprised to learn that there were no strict laws on the minimum or maximum temperature but should there be? There are certainly plenty of arguments for the introduction of minimum temperature laws. While the vast majority of businesses in the UK will look after their staff in a satisfactory manner, it would be foolish to assume that all workplaces are of an adequate temperature. Not only that but these employee’s productivity could be affected.
As a result, we feel here at Premier FST, that introduction of minimum temperature laws could actually increase the productivity levels of many workplaces. A more comfortable working environment will naturally allow workers to work effectively and efficiently. However, a lack of legislation does not mean that you are powerless. If you are chilly in the office then you should simply communicate with your employer to have things resolved. If your work refuses, then you may be able to take things forward.