Posted on 6th AUGUST 2018 by Natasha Moore
We all know that the office is that little bit hotter thanks to the new recruit - Johnny from Milton Keynes. But what are the rules we should know about to stop us from sweating and panting (not just over Johnny) in the mid-day heat?
1. What's the minimum and maximum temperature?
Before we all start ordering walk in wind tunnels for the office corridors, how cold is too cold? Well, it all depends on the type of work you're doing. Being a speedy paper pack printer for the next team meeting is one thing but being the tea maker is another, we know these special brewers always need to bring their running shoes.
There's actually no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures! So, pretty much, if your employer wants to cremate you, they can. Yet, there are recommended temperatures employers should be keen to follow.
A minimum of 16⁰C or 13⁰C (if physical labour is a main element of the job).
A maximum of.....this is very vague. I quote from the government website, " Employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including: keeping the temperature at a comfortable level and providing clean and fresh air".
OK. What's 'comfortable' is like saying that old line of 'how long is a piece of string'? You may be comfortable at 10⁰C and me at -10⁰C. My point is this isn't very helpful :( !
2. So how is my health and safety protected in the workplace?
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees, and take action where needed. So if enough people flag an issue with the temperature, your employer needs to carry out an assessment of the workplace to determine if they need to take action to mitigate the temperature issue.
3. How hot does it have to be before I can complain?
*You need to be able to fry an egg off of Ian's bald head." Just kidding! If the general consensus i.e. more than just your sweaty self feels the same way then you have grounds to ask the employer to carry out an assessment.
4. What steps can I take to stay cool or warm in general in the workplace?
If you're having hot flushes and you're bouncing off the walls then perhaps some of these controlled measures may alleviate you:
1. Drink plenty of water, staying hydrated is important for keeping cool but also for brain function.
2. Take breaks from your desk and stand near a window, breaks are important and can actually boost productivity. Fresh air can make you more alert as well as cool you down.
3. Perhaps suggest that more opens should remain open during the day or for the air conditioning to be in use.
1. Make tea (or coffee)!
2. Close the damn windows!
3. Bring extra layers.
4. Sue your boss for every penny they're worth. Jokes!
It's safe to say none of the above can save me from drowning in my own sweat or frost bite, all I can say is I pray they work for you!
Written by Natasha Moore
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