With temperatures reaching north of 30 degrees throughout the UK in the last few days, the country is in the middle of a heatwave, with many left wondering what rules are in place for those working in offices. As GetSurrey reported, the temperatures seen (and felt) this week extend issues beyond comfort, as health and safety in the workplace becomes increasingly important. Below is a comment from Jane Crosby, who discusses what rights employee’s have in an office setting, and what duties an employer has in order to ensure that health and safety regulations are maintained.
“The recent hot weather may prompt again the call for MPs to request an upper temperature limit for workplaces to be put in place, especially those premises which don’t have the benefit of air conditioning. While the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 sets a lower temperature of 16 degrees (or 13 degrees if the work involves considerable physical effort), there is no limit on the maximum temperature. An employer has a duty to provide a reasonable temperature where you work and certain guidelines suggest it is 30°C so maybe ensure there is a thermometer to measure the temperature so it does not get too high.”
With no legal limit on how hot an office, or any workplace, can become before it becomes unsafe it is down to the employer to assess the conditions, although a future cap may be introduced if calls for MPs to act prove successful.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.