Cold weather working: Helping workers stay safe and warm

January 5, 2024

Cold weather working: Helping workers stay safe and warm

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

Employers are being reminded of their responsibilities to keep workers safe as the first spell of cold weather is set to hit the country.

Great Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, is stressing the importance of protecting workers during the cold weather. It comes as the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice and snow for parts of the UK.

John Rowe, Head of Operational Strategy, said: “We’re calling on all employers to take a sensible approach during the cold weather that is coming our way. There are lots of jobs that will be more difficult in the these conditions. Most employers will recognise this and make appropriate accommodations for their staff. That is the right thing to do.

It’s also important employers ensure staff are working in a reasonable temperature. People working in uncomfortably cold environments are less likely to perform well and more likely to behave unsafely because their ability to make good decisions deteriorates.”

Temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace.

All employers are expected to ensure indoor workplaces are kept at a reasonable temperature. The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius.

John Rowe added: “Complying with the code of practice is the right thing for an employer to do. By maintaining a reasonable temperature, employers are likely to maintain the morale and productivity of their staff as well as improving health and safety.”

Our Comment

The importance of maintaining comfortable work temperatures cannot be underestimated. Indeed, at William Martin, we have often become involved in cases involving reception staff where frequently opening doors makes it really difficult to manage workplace temperatures. 

Cold Weather

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At William Martin, we bring unparalleled health & safety expertise and powerful technology to the table. Whatever your sector and wherever you are, we give you the support you need to keep compliant, strong, and successful.

This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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