4. How workers can keep temperatures comfortable

This page explains what you can do if you think there is a problem with temperature in your workplace.

You may have to work with your employer and other workers to get permission to take some of the steps below. By working together you will be more likely to find suitable, long-term solutions.

What you can do as a worker

Here are some things you can do to make your workplace temperature more comfortable:

  • Add or remove layers of clothing, depending on how hot or cold you are
  • Use a desk or pedestal fan to increase air movement
  • Use window blinds to reduce the heating effects of the sun
  • If you are too warm drink plenty of water (avoid caffeinated or carbonated drinks)
  • If possible, work away from direct sunlight or sources of heat, such as machinery
  • Take regular breaks to cool down in hot conditions or heat up in cold ones

If you have any issue with the temperature, you should report this to your manager, or your union or workplace representative if you have one.

What your employer should do

Your employer should already be assessing the risks, talking to workers and agreeing control measures to protect you.

If workers are reporting or complaining about uncomfortable temperatures, your employer should reassess the risks, agree actions with you and act on the results.

Talk to them about things they can do. These could include:

  • making sure windows can be opened or closed
  • providing fans to cool the air or local heaters
  • checking air conditioning units are maintained
  • introducing flexible hours or early/late starts to avoid high or low temperatures
  • relaxing formal dress codes to allow fewer or more layers of clothing
  • insulating hot machinery or pipes
  • moving workstations away from hot machinery or out of direct sunlight

What if I work in extreme temperatures?

If you are working in very hot or cold workplaces there is guidance on how your employer can protect you from heat stress, dehydration or cold stress.

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