How you manage the temperature of your workplace depends on whether it is indoors or outdoors and the normal operating temperature of that environment. You may also require very specific advice for your workplace for example on heat stress, dehydration and cold stress.
You must provide:
- a reasonable working temperature in workrooms usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work (unless other laws require lower temperatures);
- local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained throughout each work room (eg hot and cold processes);
- thermal clothing and rest facilities where necessary, eg for 'hot work' or cold stores;
- heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fume into the workplace
- sufficient space in work rooms.
Outdoor work places
When working outdoors the effects of the weather in this environment can potentially have a very serious impact on an employee's welfare if the risks have never been previously considered or managed properly. This impact may be immediate or it may occur over a long time period.
For example, exposure to the sun can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering and skin ageing and in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 new cases every year.
People can avoid unnecessary exposure by such means as:
- Wearing long sleeve shirts or loose clothing with a close weave;
- Wearing hats with a wide brim;
- More frequent rest breaks;
- Taking breaks in the shade whenever possible;
- Scheduling work to cooler times of the day; and
- If possible, provide shade where work tasks are being undertaken.
Sun protection is important and people need to realise that sunburnt skin is damaged skin. A suntan is not a sign of good health.