Q: It is freezing in our office, what is the regulated temperature in the workplace?
A: The law does not state a minimum or maximum temperature, but the temperature in workrooms should normally be at least:
- 16°C or
- 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort
A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present. Factors other than air temperature, ie radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity, become more significant and the interaction between them become more complex with rising temperatures.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:
‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’
However, the application of the regulation depends on the nature of the workplace, such as a bakery, a cold store, an office, a warehouse.
In an office for example measures can be taken to maintain a comfortable lower temperature, the installation of a suitable heating system, with additional provision for short term temperature control provided by portable heaters during servicing etc.