Following the extreme cold weather #BeastfromtheEast across the UK last week, when is it too cold to work outside?
If your daily job consists of working outdoors, this could create extremely dangerous conditions for your health and well-being.
Your employer must take precautions to keep you from harm no matter what the weather.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states employers should ‘assess the risks to health and safety and act where necessary (i.e. if the workplace temperature drops below the minimum guideline or if it is felt the temperature is too high)
Ideally, when weather outside is extremely cold, the temperature gauge in your workplace should not fall below 16C and if the work involves rigorous physical effort, the temperature should be at least 13C, although this relates to indoor work.
The employer has a ‘duty to determine what reasonable comfort will be in the particular circumstances’, according to Health and safety Executive.
Employers must stick to health and safety at work including keeping the temperature at a comfortable level and providing clean and fresh air.
The regulations means employers have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their workers.
Although there is no strict guide when it is too cold to work outside, and no laws on maximum and minimum temperatures, these regulations require employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees. A risk assessment requires employers to make a suitable assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees as well as the possible impact of rain, snow and ice during low tempreatures
When working in cold environments employers need to ensure that protective equipment is issued. (The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992); provide mobile facilities for warming up, encourage the drinking of warm fluids such as soup or hot drinks, introduce more frequent rest breaks, or consider delaying ther work.