How Hot Is Too Hot?


13 August 2020

By Alexandra Dean

The last time things got a little too hot, many of us were in the height of lockdown so sitting in the garden was the reprieve.

We are now seeing another heatwave here in the UK and The Met Office has even confirmed that yesterday London saw temperatures higher than 34 degrees for a sixth day in a row – which is a new record since 1961.

However, now many people are back in the workplace and in this heat it could be a struggle.

What are employers' obligations with regards to temperature in the workplace?

Technically, there is no maximum temperature that the workplace can be before employer has to do something about it. We know, it sounds strange but the legislation only requires that employers provide a workplace that is safe for the employees under the health and safety regulations.

For employers that work in refrigerated workplaces the minimum temperature can be 16 Degrees Celsius but there is no maximum limit.

Nonetheless, it is encouraged to make your employees comfortable in the workplace, of course. There could be arguments that when a workplace is too hot then it is not safe for employees as it could lead to individuals becoming unwell which will, undoubtedly, hinder them doing their work.

So, if you are not comfortable at work then do raise it with your management and employer so that it can be dealt with where possible. For employers, consider what steps you can take to make things easier on your team:

  • Is the office sufficiently ventilated?
  • Can the company provide fans or portable air-conditioning units if none are already fitted?
  • Should employees be allowed to dress more casually (within reason) to ensure their comfort in the workplace?

It is always helpful to remember that a business is built on people and so caring for the employees will encourage morale and will often result in better productivity.

For assistance with any Employment Law issues, please contact us.

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This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.