UK Workers Advised on How to Work Safely in Cold Weather
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UK Workers Advised on How to Work Safely in Cold Weather

It’s been fairly brisk as of late, to put it mildly. As we cosy up to heaters and wrap ourselves in blankets, many will be wondering if it is too cold to work. Were you aware that you, as a worker, have rights for situations such as these?

Is it too cold to work?

According to the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the minimum temperature recommended in a workplace should be at least 16C. However, this is just a recommendation and not a legal requirement. It states, “The temperature in workrooms should provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing. Where such a temperature is impractical because of hot or cold processes, all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a temperature which is as close as possible to comfortable.”

Can I stop working from home if it is too cold?

As there is no legal maximum or minimum temperature that people can work in, there’s not a yes or no answer to working from home during the colder months. However, by law, employers have a ‘duty of care’ to make sure working temperatures are reasonable for staff. This means that if extreme temperatures are expected, employers should make plans for keeping staff comfortable and safe, carry out health and safety risk assessments, and remove or reduce any risks found. Many will be noticing the heating bill rising on work-from-home days and while your employer is not liable to pay your bill, they can offer alternatives to help ease the colder days.

How cold will it get?

In parts of the country, temperatures could plummet as low as -10C. Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Steve Willington, said, “It is staying cold with daytime temperatures remaining only a few degrees above freezing in many places over the coming days and overnight temperatures dropping to -10°C or lower in isolated spots. “Although below average, these temperatures are not that unusual for this time of year.”

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