No. There is no UK law that states a given temperature is either too hot or cold to work in. However, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) workplaces should ideally be at least 16C or 13C if the job is mostly physical. The Health and
Safety at Work Act means that employers are generally responsible for employees’ welfare and so do need to be mindful of temperature levels in the workplace and what measures can be taken to sensibly address this. The HSE gives the following (non exhaustive) examples of measures that can be taken in hot weather:-
- Let staff work more flexibly where possible – shifting their hours to minimise working at the hottest time of day.
- Relaxing formal dress codes
- Moving workstations away from hot places or out of direct sunlight
- Fans and air conditioning units should be available
A number of MPs have recently backed a campaign for a legal upper limit of 30C in most workplaces or 27C for those doing strenuous work. At the moment it is only a campaign and not law. It will be interesting to see if it gets any traction over the coming months or years.
18th July 2022