What Are Your Temperature Rights in the Office?

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Already this year we’ve seen weather alerts for ice and snow issued around the country – but do you know your temperature rights when in the office?

At the hottest and coldest times of the year, one subject tends to rise to the surface – the temperature. Whether it’s a discussion between a group of co-workers or just a casual comment made over a work emails, we all have our own likes and dislikes when it comes to the type of temperature we prefer.

But aside from opinions, what are your actual temperature rights when working in an office environment? We’ve covered some of the main points in our breakdown below, take a look:

Your Temperature Rights

Is Temperature Covered Under Health and Safety Law?

Technically, temperature does fall under general health and safety laws. However, it’s important to note that there is no definitive minimum temperature that a workplace or office building must meet.

Overall, employers are expected in terms of temperature rights to keep the levels of temperature within buildings to a ‘reasonable’ and consistent standard. The Health and Safety Executive website suggests this as being at around 13 – 16 ºC if your job involves physical labor work.

How Can Employers Ensure a Comfortable Temperature for Everyone?

Whilst it’s almost impossible to please everyone when it comes to the temperature in an office, employers are expected to consider as part of employee temperature rights:

  • The individual circumstances of the workplace
  • The facilities regularly used in a place of work (heaters, radiators, computer equipment etc.)

Every employer is also required to carry out a risk assessment which investigates the potential health and safety risks that could arise from varying or extreme temperatures in the office.

I Don’t Like the Temperature at My Place of Work – What Can I Do?

Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, individual preferences on temperatures are likely to fall by the wayside when it comes to settling on the temperature of the office.

Therefore, it’s best to gather the opinions of everyone in your work environment first before bringing it up with your manager or supervisor.

If a large group of employees decide to bring up concerns of the temperature and their temperature rights to their employer, then the employer should consider if it is impacting on their ‘duty of care’.

Should a decision is made that it does, then the employer can hold a meeting or group discussion to try and come to an agreement on how they will manage the temperature going forwards.

What If I Don’t Work Outside or Work in a Cold Environment?

Some jobs, such as those in retail and away from working on a computer, might require you to work in a naturally cold environment to begin with.

In terms of how this type of workplace impacts on your temperature rights, your employer should ensure that these types of environment don’t have an adverse effect on workers.

If it is directly affecting the work of employees, then the employer should look into incorporating measures such as:

  • Creating warm rest areas.
  • Rotating duties to avoid employees working for extended hours in colder temperatures.
  • Allowing more frequent breaks.
  • Providing thermal/warmer clothing for employees to wear whilst carrying out duties.

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Sam Rose

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