Minimum and Maximum Workplace Temperatures

Do you know the regulations about temperatures in the workplace?

close-up of a thermometer

Employees often ask about minimum and maximum temperatures in offices (Photo: Christoph Scholz via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0)

When temperatures rise - and when it gets cold - people are likely to start asking what the regulations are about the maximum or minimum permitted temperatures in the office. It is good for charity f.m.s to have a clear answer to these questions.

The regulatory requirements for workplace temperatures are set by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.  The regulations state that the temperature of indoor workplaces should be "reasonable".

What is the Legal Minimum Working Temperature?

There is no legal minimum working temperature.

However the Approved Code of Practice defines a reasonable indoor temperature as being normally at least 16°C.  If the work undertaken is heavy physical work, the temperature should be at least 13°C.​

What is the Legal Maximum Working Temperature?

There is no legally set upper limit for indoor working temperatures.  This is because factors like humidity and air movement can make a significant difference to thermal comfort levels.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that employers should consult with employees or their representatives, to establish ways to cope with high temperatures.

Guidance

The HSE website has guidance on temperatures in the workplace, as well as information about protecting people working outdoors and protective equipment: HSE Temperature Pages