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Managing workplace temperature

This section outlines your responsibilities as an employer, and suggests some ways you can manage the temperature in your workplace for the ‘thermal comfort’ of your employees. Thermal comfort describes a person’s state of mind in terms of whether they feel too hot or too cold. How you manage the effects of temperature of your workplace depends on whether it is indoors or outdoors and the normal operating temperature of that environment.

Indoor workplaces

You should provide:

When people are too hot

You can help ensure thermal comfort in warm conditions by:

When people are too cold

You can help ensure thermal comfort when working in the cold by:

PPE and thermal comfort

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is considered to be a ‘last resort’ to protect employees from the hazards in the workplace (PPE Regulations 1992).
PPE reduces the body’s ability to evaporate sweat. Additionally, if the PPE is cumbersome or heavy it may contribute to an increase in the heat being generated inside the body.

Wearing PPE in warm/hot environments and/or with high work rates may increase the risk of heat stress.

Removal of PPE after exposure (and where necessary allowing it to dry out or replace with dry PPE before permitting re-entry) will prevent any heat retained in the clothing from continuing to heat the employee.

PPE may prevent the wearer from adapting to their environment by removing clothing because to do so would expose them to the hazard that the PPE is intended to protect them from. Ensure that people wear their PPE correctly (eg they do not undo fasteners to increase air movement into the garment) and thereby expose themselves to the primary hazard.

Very high or low workplace temperatures

You may require specific advice for your workplace if you are working in very high or low temperatures, for example on heat stress, dehydration or cold stress.

If thermal discomfort is a risk, and your employees are complaining and/or reporting illnesses that may be caused by the thermal environment, then you should review the situation and if necessary implement appropriate controls to manage the risks:

2015-07-07