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Keeping your cool at work This month our Award Winning Business expert Janette Whitney asks – are you hot under the collar janette whitney Business Consultant www.whitneyassocs.co.uk
As temperatures soar, employers are being asked to take steps to reduce the temperature in the workplace. Health & Safety guidelines state that employers have a duty to ensure reasonable workplace temperature, but evidence shows that due to the unreliable British summer, too many employers fail to monitor workplace temperature closely enough. Surprisingly, although the law sets out minimum temperatures for the workplace, there is no clear legal maximum. Regulation 7 of the workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 provides that ‘during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable’. In 2004, following requests for a maximum temperature to be created, the government stated that it would not introduce a maximum workplace temperature, as it would be too impractical. The World Health Organisa-
tion has stated that the maximum temperature for ‘comfortable’ working (which, of course, is different from the maximum temperature for ‘safe’ working) is 24 degrees Celsius. Perhaps the best guidance is the call from the TUC, in 2003, for a maximum workplace temperature of 30 degrees (or 27 degrees for those doing strenuous work). If temperatures in your workplace are approaching these levels, you need to think seriously about ways to manage risks such as fatigue, dizziness, dehydration and asthma. Failure to take reasonable steps (which would include introducing portable air conditioning machines, fans, providing free water or allowing longer breaks) might result in civil liability if an employee suffers ill-health. It should also be borne in mind that an employees age, build and medical factors, may affect an individual’s tolerance of the heat/ humidity and hence productivity. On the other side of the coin, there are minimum temperatures for the workplace laid down under the Health & safety legislation. The temperature should be
comfortable – at least 16 degrees Celsius where people are seated or don’t have to move much and at least 13 degrees Celsius where people are active. If the temperature must be lower, people should not be exposed for too long and wear suitable clothing, provided by the employer. If a summer slump in your business productivity is to be avoided, you need to take into account heat as a workplace risk. For practical and impartial advice for your business issues contact me on 01403 733671 or visit www.whitneyassocs.co.uk About Janette Janette Whitney ACIB MCMI is a Multi- Award Winning Business Consultant and business growth specialist providing practical strategic advice to businesses from start-ups to £10m turnover companies. Professionally qualified with 38 yrs. business experience and a proven track record of satisfied clients, she helps businesses to grow profitably and achieve their goals. Janette is also an award winning business author, and media columnist.
FREE FAMILY LAW ADVICE CLINIC IN CRAWLEY AND HORSHAM We offer a free 30 minute consultation at our family law advice clinic every Tuesday 1pm – 4pm, covering: • Divorce, separation and ﬁnances • Children matters (contact and residence arrangements) • Cohabitation disputes where couples are unmarried • Consent Orders • Options available on the breakdown marriage or civil partnership • Prenuptial agreements By appointment only. Please book in advance by calling 01293 596947. Crawley clinic: 117-119 High Street, Crawley RH10 1DD Horsham clinic: Lavinia House, Dukes Square, Horsham RH12 1GZ Alternatively, we offer a one hour ﬁxed fee appointment at £100 plus vat (£120). To book a convenient ﬁxed fee appointment please call 01293 596947. www.stevensdrake.com