When is it too cold to work in an office?

Accidents at work can be caused by all manner of things. Causes that immediately spring to mind include faulty workplace products, tripping and falling in the office, and problems in industries such as construction.

While office temperatures may not feature in the upper echelons of lists concerning the causes of injuries at work, they can play an important role in both illnesses at work and the wider field of job satisfaction.

Avoiding illnesses at work with temperatures – The law

Heat regulation in an office environment is covered in legal terms by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Act 1992.

The Act places a legal obligation onto the shoulders of employers to provide a working environment in which the temperature is ‘reasonable.’

The Act also carries an Approved Code of Practice which details exactly what the temperatures should be. As of yet, there is no upper limit set. This is due to the fact that, as temperatures rise, the complexity of the mix of radiant temperature, air velocity, humidity, and other factors which impact thermal comfort increase.

There is, however, such a thing as a working environment which is too cold. The Approved Code of Practice contained within the 1992 Act states that the minimum temperature in a workroom should be 16 degrees.

The only exception to this suggestion is indoor environments where strenuous work involving serious physical exertion is taking place. In these circumstances, the lower limit is 13 degrees.

These suggestions, however, are not legal absolutes. The law encourages organisations to be flexible in terms of finding a level of thermal comfort that suits their employees.

The Health and Safety Executive strongly recommends that employers consult and have an open dialogue with their members of staff when it comes to finding the ideal temperature for the office. These conversations should also include two-way discussions on solutions to deal with uncomfortable temperatures.

If you are involved in a work accident, suffer from industrial illnesses, or stress related to work, then it’s both important and reassuring to remember that help is at hand.

Accident Advice Helpline are a law firm with many years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims.

Recommended by TV personality and famed consumer champion, Esther Rantzen, their Freephone advice line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they usually conclude cases outside of court.

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