Why it is important to maintain a safe and comfortable workplace temperature


For many UK businesses the cost of running air conditioning may seem high, but there can be hidden costs of not providing air conditioning or adequate heating in the workplace.  The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that ‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’   London Cool also receives many enquiries from businesses needing to keep their server or computer rooms  cool to protect valuable data and systems.

Thermal discomfort caused by workplace temperature on can have an impact on health and safety, with more accidents being reported, all of which have an associated cost.  Many employees are not able to adapt their clothing because  they wear a specific uniform or PPE .  Wearing too much clothing or PPE may be a primary cause of heat stress but if clothing does not provide enough insulation, then there is a risk of cold injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia.

Employees working in cold environments are shown to become slow and sluggish since their bodies aren’t able to react as quickly when the temperature drops. Many employees report becoming sleepy when they get too cold, affecting their ability to focus on any work-related tasks.  If the workplace is too hot, employees can become irritable and even aggressive, which may also affect work performance.

Workplace temperatures can play a significant role in productivity – a hidden cost of not providing a ‘reasonable’ workplace temperature.  Research originally carried out by Cornell University has shown that employees work best when the temperature is within a range of 22°C – 25°C.   In temperatures below 22°C more office errors occurred, but as the temperature was increased to 22°C errors dropped by 44% and keyboarding output increased by a massive 150 %. 

Of the workers questioned, 29% estimated they spend between 10 and 30 minutes each workday not working and 6%  said they spend more than half an hour each day not working efficiently due to an uncomfortable office temperature.

The results of the survey suggests that around 2% of office hours are wasted due to the temperature alone,  potentially costing the UK economy more than £13 billion annually.
While there is no ideal temperature for the workplace, and no legal maximum, different working areas may need different temperatures.   The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers  recommends the following temperatures -

· Heavy work in factories: 13°C
· Light work in factories: 16°C
· Hospital wards and shops: 18°C
· Offices and dining rooms: 20°C

London Cool has a range of portable heating or cooling solutions available to help ensure that your workplace is maintained at a safe and comfortable temperature.  Many of our portable air conditioners also feature a heat pump, making them ideal for varying temperatures in the workplace. Do contact our Sales Team on 0800 440 444 for expert advice on your climate control needs, contact us via Facebook or Twitter or complete an enquiry form on our website and our team will call you back. 

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