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Temperature in the workplace

1. Is it too cold or hot to work?

Working in cold temperatures

The minimum temperature in an indoor workplace should normally be at least:

  • 16°C or

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

There are practical steps you can take to keep people as comfortable as possible when working in the cold.

Working in hot temperatures

There's no law for maximum working temperature, or when it's too hot to work, because every workplace is different.

No meaningful upper limit can be imposed because in many indoor workplaces high temperatures are not seasonal but created by work activity, for example in bakeries or foundries.

However, employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including:

  • keeping the temperature at a comfortable level

  • providing clean and fresh air

How to protect workers

There are practical steps you can take to protect workers in high or low temperatures.

Workers should talk to their employer if the workplace temperature isn't comfortable.

2. What the law says?

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

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.

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

Source HSE

If you are looking for advice and guidance with the risk assessment process, contact us on 0117 957 5154 or at


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