Thermal comfort is one of the more complicated things to get right when it comes to avoiding accidents at work.
Workplace injuries that occur as a result of falling objects, slips and trips or faulty machines in the workplace, are relatively straightforward both in terms of identifying a cause and putting privations in place.
Thermal comfort, however, is another matter altogether.
Thermal comfort cannot simply be defined by the working environment being too hot or too cold. To do this would be to ignore the various personal and external factors that can effect how comfortable a person is in the office environment.
Instead, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggest that by far the most effective method of measuring thermal comfort is to simply talk to the members of staff. In a larger organisation, it may be more time-effective to open dialogue with workplace representatives such as unions.
If the feedback received shows that a certain percentage of workers are unhappy or uncomfortable in the thermal environment, then changes need to be made.
The HSE recommend that at least 80 per cent of the workforce respond in a positive or affirmative manner to questions about the thermal environment, before employers can begin to be satisfied they have created a suitable level of thermal comfort.
Levels of thermal comfort can be controlled in a wide variety of ways.
Administrative controls: these include the planning and organising of times for both work and rest. This can include:
– Planning ‘hot work’ (i.e. work that is physically strenuous) for cooler times of day.
– Giving employees flexible working hours to negate and avoid the effects of working in hot temperatures.
These types of controls are typically more short-term and expensive than alternatives.
Engineering controls: these types of control are aimed at reducing or eliminating the problem altogether. Although the initial expense may be high, they are employed with the long-term in mind. Engineering controls include changes to the following:
– Air movement
– Air conditioning
However they do it, achieving the right level of thermal comfort is important for organisations to avoid injuries at work.
If you suffer an accident or illness at work, Accident Advice Helpline can assist you in gaining the work illness compensation you deserve.
Championed by Esther Rantzen, they work on a no-win, no-fee basis and settle the majority of cases without the pressure of a court appearance.
To discuss your claim with a member of our expert team dial 0800 689 0500 now.
Date Published: December 9, 2013
Author: David Brown