What is the Minimum Temperature Permitted in an Office Environment?

September 18 2018

James Patten


With winter starting to settle in already, it is important to understand if there are any rules, laws, and regulations regarding the minimum temperature that’s permitted in a place of work. During the colder months, if your office doesn’t have sufficient heating, you cannot be made to work in adverse or inclement conditions once the temperature slips below the legal threshold. So, lets take a look at the UK law and find out what is the minimum temperature permitted in an office environment.

What Does the Law Say?

Temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992, which stipulates that employers are legally obligated to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace.

While this legal requirement does not actually specify a definite temperature, the Approved Code of Practice suggests that the minimum workplace temperature should be at least 16 degrees Celsius. This would be suitable for an office environment, given that the temperature is lowered to 13 °C if the work involves rigorous physical effort; a temperature you’re likely to set for warehouse heating systems.

Essentially, the minimum temperature is very much at the employer’s discretion. But it’s important for them to understand the comfort of their employees and take steps to ensure that the work environment is a ‘reasonable’ temperature. Employers need to make a suitable assessment of risks to the health and safety of their employees and take action where necessary.

Woman shivering in an office


Things You Need to Consider with Temperatures

During colder weather, everyone in the office should be kept nice and warm, as working in cold environments can be strenuous on the body and effect people’s concentration. Companies should keep their industrial heating systems maintained and serviced as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure the temperature stays at a suitable level.

Once the warm air heating is on and is circulating around the office, with the help of destratification fans, an optimal office temperature can be maintained. However, it can go from one extreme to another; if you are using heaters, make sure that the controllers are set correctly, as being too warm can also affect productivity in a negative way.

If the temperature of a workplace becomes relatively high, it can lead to heat stress, especially for people working in warehouses, who must wear a lot of heavy protective safety equipment. Employers should consider both extremes of temperatures. If it is particularly warm, allow some extra time for your workers, rotate your staff around regularly, and consider any risk assessments to ensure the safety of you and your colleagues.

In the winter, it is particularly important to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of your colleagues is a top priority. If your office seems colder than it should be, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your employees are happy in their place of work by taking steps to fix the problem.

At Heritage Heating, we are able to supply high-quality heating, so you can rest assured that you won’t be too cold during winter months. We also offer maintenance for heating systems by our qualified engineers; even if the heater did not come from us, we can provide service to get it running efficiently this winter. If you would like to know more information, please contact us today, and one of our friendly staff will be more than happy to help.

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