Managing workplace temperature: health and safety guidelines
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained in the workplace. Keeping a comfortable temperature is essential for employee comfort, productivity, and mood, so it is essential to ensure the correct health and safety guidelines are followed.
It is recommended that the workplace should be a consistent temperature of between 16 and 24 degrees, although this varies depending on the type of work being carried out and is not a legal requirement as temperatures differ depending on the workplace. For example, the following temperatures are recommended for different workplaces:
- Strenuous work: 13°C
- Light work in factories: 16°C
- Hospitality and retail: 18°C
- Offices and dining rooms: 20°C
It’s important to ensure that everyone in the workplace is able to function comfortably in the temperature set via your air conditioning unit. There can be dangerous health risks with both too cold and too hot conditions, with uncomfortable temperatures increasing the chance of employees behaving unsafely.
Over heated workplaces risk people fainting, becoming dehydrated, getting heat stroke and even collapsing. If the temperature is too low, this will often lead to increased drowsiness and a loss of concentration, which can put workers at risk.
Keeping people warm
Aside from monitoring your air conditioning unit to ensure it is keeping the workplace at the correct temperature, you can provide the following measures to keep people warm:
- Portable heaters
- Reduced exposure to cold areas (particularly in retail outlets)
- Reduce draughts
- Insulation for walls and flooring
- Protective, thermal clothing where necessary
- Job rotation
Keeping people cool
In the hotter months, or in more strenuous working conditions, there is a risk that the workplace could overheat, potentially causing harm to employees in those conditions.
Keep people cool by:
- Ensuring there is adequate ventilation
- Blocking out direct sunlight via blinds
- Relaxing the dress code
- Allowing breaks for rest
- Ensuring there is access to water
- Providing fans or other cooling systems
Maintaining your air conditioning unit is the best way of ensuring your workplace stays at a consistent, comfortable temperature. Here at Conditioned Environment, we’re one of the leading air conditioning maintenance experts for commercial clients across Central London.