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Is there a legal indoor working temperature?

Complaints about hot, stuffy offices are a common feature of UK summers. As the frequency of summer heatwaves in the UK seems to be on the rise, employers need to consider the effect of the heat on employees and take the steps necessary to protect their health and welfare.

The article considers the issue of a maximum office temperature, the risks of working in hot conditions indoors and the actions that should be taken.

When the workplace is too hot

When the workplace gets too hot it is not just an issue about comfort. It reduces productivity and can also be a health and safety issue. In hot conditions people can suffer from a loss of concentration and increased tiredness, dizziness, fainting, or even heat cramps. There is an increase in the likelihood of accidents due to reduced concentration and slippery, sweaty palms.

Indoor environmental conditions substantially influence health and safety and productivity. The air temperature in the office has a strong effect on working performance. Although there is some disagreement on the temperature for optimal productivity, most studies have found it is between 21°C and 23°C. Generally, there is agreement that productivity starts to diminish when office temperatures rise above this.


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