2. What the law says

Is it too hot or cold to work?

Find out how you can protect workers from uncomfortable temperatures.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable indoor temperature in the workplace.

This depends on the work activity and the environmental conditions.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations require reasonable workplace temperatures for indoor areas of construction sites.

Where the site is outdoors, you must provide protection from adverse weather. Site rest facilities must also be maintained at an appropriate temperature.

Assessing the risks

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, employers must:

Temperature in the workplace is one of the risks you should assess, whether the work is being done indoors or outdoors.

You should consult with workers or their representatives on the best ways to cope with high or low temperatures.

Minimum workplace temperature

The Approved Code of Practice on the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations suggests the minimum temperature for working indoors should normally be at least:

  • 16°C or
  • 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort

You can find more advice on protecting workers from feeling too cold.

Higher workplace temperatures

There is no maximum temperature for workplaces.

However, all workers are entitled to an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard.

Find out what you should do to protect workers in high temperatures.

What is a reasonable working temperature?

As an employer, you must decide what a reasonable temperature should be in your workplace:

  • assess the risk
  • act on any findings by putting controls in place, including temporary or seasonal ones
  • use our heat stress checklist if workers are at risk from extreme temperatures

Find out more

We have more advice on managing workplace temperature including guidance on thermal comfort, heat stress and cold stress.

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