Workplace temperatures - how to take control

How to make the case for changing workplace temperatures

Donna Steele is a CSP senior negotiating offi cer
Donna Steele is a CSP senior negotiating officer

High temperatures can cause tiredness, loss of concentration, dizziness, fainting or heat cramps. If it rises above 39°C there can be very serious – even fatal – consequences. It’s widely accepted that the optimum indoor working temperature is 18-24°C. However, there are no legal maximum working temperatures, so you will have to decide whether the temperature in your workplace is reasonable. 

If it isn’t, you and your colleagues – working with your CSP safety rep if there is one – can make the case to management for action.

Check your workplace temperature

Take readings twice a day, in different parts of your work area, and then determine an average. 

Report incidents and record concerns 

Ensure colleagues put in an incident report when patients, visitors or staff fall ill or experience adverse effects. Even if it is just dizziness, record it.

Keep records when colleagues avoid treating patients in the work area due to heat concerns.

Collate the views of colleagues

Undertake a survey of staff to record how the heat is affecting them personally.

Think what your CSP safety representative can do

If there is a CSP safety rep in your workplace, get them to ask the employer to undertake a risk assessment.  

What to ask for from your employer 

Once you’ve collated evidence, you and your colleagues can ask your line management for action. 

Here are some ideas to put to them:

  • redesign the work area – moving people away from windows, or installing reflective film or blinds.
  • install fans, natural ventilation, or portable air-cooling cabinets in higher temperatures.
  • allow staff to work flexibly to avoid overcrowded trains or buses.
  • provide extra rest periods – a particularly important provision for pregnant members or those undergoing menopause.
  • agree a relaxed uniform policy – such as allowing shorts.
  • ensure fresh drinking water is available. 

Find Out More

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