Baby It’s Cold Outside – Is Your Office Too Cold This Christmas?
Now that winter has arrived and Christmas is just around the corner, the temperature outside is likely to drop significantly and you may begin to feel the chill around the workplace too.
Employers have a duty to ensure that a comfortable temperature is maintained throughout your place of employment. Government guidance suggests a minimum temperature of 16°c or 13°c where physical work is required. Otherwise employers must ensure that the temperature inside the workplace is ‘reasonable’, but there is no legal minimum or maximum. However, unfortunately there is no definition as to what reasonable is, and what is too cold for one employee may be too warm for another.
If a significant number of employees complain about the temperature then usually an employer should carry out a risk assessment and take action to remedy the situation depending on its results, for example supplying additional portable heaters.
The Health and Safety Executive has listed a number of tips that employees can consider when faced with adverse temperatures in the workplace this winter. These include wearing additional layers of clothing, consuming hot drinks, taking regular breaks to warm up and ensuring that any issues in respect of the temperature are raised with managers or trade union representatives as soon as possible.