What Are The Maximum And Minimum Temperatures For Working?

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 7) require employers to ensure that the temperature in all workplaces during working hours is ‘reasonable’.

There is no legal definition for a maximum or minimum temperature. However, the Workplace Regulations Approved Code of Practice states that the minimum temperature should normally be 16 degrees Celsius. Where work is of a physical nature 13 degrees Celsius is allowed. There is no recommended maximum temperature.

Where temperatures are likely to be high, employers should take ‘all reasonable steps’ to achieve a reasonably comfortable temperature, for example by:

  • insulating hot plants or pipes;
  • providing air cooling plant;
  • shading windows;
  • siting workstations away from places subject to radiant heat;
  • providing, free of charge, a plentiful supply of cool drinks;
  • ensuring that staff take regular breaks;
  • relaxing clothing rules to allow staff to wear cool, loose fitting clothes. This should not include clothes provided for protective reasons.

In chilled temperatures for some food production, employers should consider:

  • enclosing or insulating the product;
  • pre-chilling the product;
  • keeping chilled areas as small as possible;
  • exposing the product to workroom temperatures as briefly as possible.

This should also be coupled with rotating chilled and warmer work; personal protective clothing; and breaks in warm areas.

Employers should provide thermometers around the workplace to allow Safety Representatives to monitor workplace temperature.