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Workplace Temperature

The HSE has updated its guidance on workplace temperature. The guidance explains the importance of assessing the risks to employees from low temperatures and less daylight; working in hot temperatures following last year's heatwave; and the impact when working outside. The key considerations are: You can take these practical steps to keep people as comfortable as possible when working in the cold:

  • Provide adequate workplace heating, such as portable heaters, to ensure work areas are warm enough when they are occupied

  • Design processes that minimise exposure to cold areas and cold products

  • Reduce draughts while still keeping adequate ventilation

  • Provide insulating floor coverings or special footwear when workers have to stand for long periods on cold floors

  • Provide appropriate protective clothing for cold environments

You can also change work systems:

  • Limit exposure by introducing systems such as flexible working patterns or job rotation

  • Provide enough breaks to allow workers to get hot drinks or warm up in heated areas

When people are too hot:


You can help ensure people are comfortable in warm conditions:

  • Provide fans, such as desk, pedestal or ceiling-mounted ones

  • Provide air-cooling or air-conditioning and adequate ventilation

  • Ensure windows can be opened to keep air circulating

  • Shade employees from direct sunlight with blinds or by using reflective film on windows

  • Position workstations away from direct sunlight or sources of heat

  • Place insulating materials around hot plant and pipes

  • Provide cold water dispensers (water is better than caffeine or carbonated drinks)

You can also change work arrangements to avoid people getting too hot:

  • Introduce flexible working patterns, such as job rotation, moving workers to cooler parts of the building where possible

  • Allow enough breaks to allow workers to get cold drinks or cool down

  • Relax formal dress codes – but make sure personal protective equipment is used if required

The stipulated temperatures remain unchanged: the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations suggests the minimum temperature for working indoors should normally be at least:

  • 16°C or

  • 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort

There is no maximum legal temperature.

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