July 29, 2019
With heatwaves in the UK during summer months becoming more common, what can employers do to ensure a comfortable working environment for employees?
Although there are no laws in the UK providing a minimum or maximum working temperature, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 places a legal obligation on an employer to provide a 'reasonable' temperature in the workplace. Guidance suggests a minimum temperature of around 16 degrees, or 13 degrees if the work includes physical activity, however there is no suggested maximum temperature currently.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has discussed the need for change, making the following suggestions for an employer to implement during high temperatures:
- allowing more flexible working and a more relaxed dress code during the summer months
- allowing people to travel to work at different times
- allowing employees to work from home
- allowing casual clothing
- providing cool drinks
Employers must follow health and safety at work law, and this includes ensuring a comfortable temperature and providing clean and fresh air. For indoor workers, this could be providing adequate fans and air conditioning and access to water. For outdoor workers, this may be regular rest breaks and adjusted working hours, in attempt to avoid the hottest hours of the day.