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Office Temperature: When Is It Too Hot To Work And When Can I Go Home?

Mark Cunliffe

| Last updated 

Office Temperature: When Is It Too Hot To Work And When Can I Go Home?

If work wasn't tiring enough, an African plume heatwave is currently melting employees across the UK, and it's only going to get hotter. Some people will have the luxury of working in air-conditioned offices, while others will be sweating in places they didn't know were possible. If you're one of the latter, then you're probably wondering how hot it needs to get before your boss has to send you home. Here's a handy guide to your rights in the workplace.

How hot will it get?

Met Office meteorologist Sophie Yeomans said:"By Wednesday we expect temperatures in the UK to reach 93°F (34°C) during the second half of the week it is uncertain whether there will be a trend back to fresher conditions.

"If the heat remains temperatures could rise slightly higher.

"During the first part of the week while high pressure builds over southern Britain, it will be a slightly different picture across the northwest which is still stuck in the jet stream. Low pressure will come into the north and there will be a fair amount of rain."

While forecasters predict daytime temperatures to reach the mid-30s this week, Netweather charts show high humidity could make temperatures 'feel like' 44°C in some areas, as sweltering humidity pushes north from the continent.

Time to get your sunglasses on. Credit: PA
Time to get your sunglasses on. Credit: PA

Chris England, a Sky News weather producer, also said nighttime temperatures for July could be beaten, explaining: "We are likely to see night-time temperatures staying above the record July minimum of 23.3°C (74°F) set at St James's Park in 1948 and possibly the all-time record of 23.9°C (75°F) set in Brighton on the 4 August 1990.

"Daytime temperatures could well go over the July maximum of 36.7°C (98°F) set at Heathrow in 2015 as well, with Thursday being the hottest day.

"There's just a small chance that the all-time record of 38.5°C (101°F) set at Faversham in August 2003 could be broken."

It's perfect beer garden weather. Credit: PA
It's perfect beer garden weather. Credit: PA

How hot does it have to get before you can leave work and go to the beer garden?

Unfortunately, there isn't a set temperature for offices and other workplaces. Employers have to make sure that the conditions are "reasonable" depending on the kind of work taking place.

The Health and Safety Executive says: "A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, glass works or foundries."

What's the perfect temperature?

The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends the following temperatures for different working areas:

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

It's getting hot in here Credit: Unsplash/Hans Reniers
It's getting hot in here Credit: Unsplash/Hans Reniers

Are your rights being met?

Your boss should make sure that their employees have access to water and monitor their well-being. If you're pregnant or menopausal or need to wear protective equipment which stops you from taking off layers, that has to be taken into account too.

According to the Health and Safety Executive: "If a significant number of employees are complaining about thermal discomfort, your employer should carry out a risk assessment, and act on the results of that assessment."

So, in short, get your entire team to complain and your boss will have to do something about it. I'm sure they'd secretly prefer to be in a beer garden too.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Met Office, Weather, hot, Interesting, heatwave, Beer, temperature

Mark Cunliffe
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