Now that we seem to be getting a bit of much longed-for sunshine, it’s important to know what an employer’s legal obligations are concerning minimum and maximum temperatures in the workplace. Although there are no legally binding workplace temperatures, guidance says that a temperature of at least 16 degrees Celsius is maintained but there is no guidance as to an upper limit. Employers have a duty to maintain a reasonable temperature, taking into account the needs of the workforce and the particular circumstances of that workplace. It is sensible to do a risk assessment of temperatures for the health and safety of employees and to control risks in people’s working environments.
If staff are working out of doors, precautions should be taken to minimise any risk associated with outdoor working. In hot weather, protective clothing and sunscreen should be worn, and more frequent breaks (rather than one long one) should be encouraged in order to consume cold drinks and shelter out of strong sunshine.
It is difficult for people to work efficiently when they are sweltering in an airless environment, so it could pay big dividends to either rent or buy portable air conditioners so staff can work comfortably throughout, what is hopefully, a lovely summer!