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Workplace temperature

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Lui, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. Lui

    Lui UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 0
    What are my employee's rights when it comes to workplace temperature?

    I have a warehouse with several employees, all of them are fine in cooler weather like today where it is 11c. I supply staff with any clothing they want including heated clothing which works perfectly especially as each person can adjust the temperature to their own needs but I have one employee who will only wear a t-shirt, ripped jeans and his own jacket unzipped which is thin so it does little to keep him warm, even if it is zero degrees he will wear the same clothing. When he complains its cool, we ask him to at least zip up his jacket but he won't. I've asked him why he won't wear anything else and he says he feels everything feels restrictive, he won't even wear a loose hoodie, I think part of the reason is also that he dislikes the style of most clothing.

    Generally, we avoid using the heaters unless it is actually cold due to the cost and size of the warehouse plus heated clothing does the job better anyway as the heat is direct. The heaters can add up a lot especially as he is the only person who needs them and in some cases, he will use them when it's very mild say 17c yet some staff complain it's warm as they are moving stock all day. As far as I can see there is no actual rule on this, we've spoken to him several times but can't come to an agreement and I don't want to come across as draconian telling him he can't use the heater.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: Lui Member since: Mar 16, 2015
    #1
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,375 3,229
    Reasonable is the word needed.

    Indoors 16C

    https://www.gov.uk/workplace-temperatures

    Your employee in the t-shirt sounds like my wife. She'll wear shorts pretty much most of the year when not at work. Some people are more able to handle cold or heat than others.

    For people spending time in one place within the building, look at IR heaters.
    We had a thousand square foot warehouse with high ceiling, we used a small gas fire for the wife and an IR heater on a pole for me as I worked 2 places for extended times.
    Worked fine for warehouse, neither would work well in office.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #2
  3. bodgitt&scarperLTD

    bodgitt&scarperLTD UKBF Regular Full Member

    471 225
    How long has he worked for you? He doesn't seem like a team player. Heating clothing is more than most employers would provide. If he's worked for you less than two years I'd bin the prima donna and find another team player. Essentially he wants the rest of the warehouse team who actually do physical work to suffer so he can wear a T shirt.

    My guys get the absolute best workwear and are grateful for it.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: bodgitt&scarperLTD Member since: Nov 26, 2018
    #3
  4. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,704 4,562
    In Germany it's 13C to 30C is regarded as reasonable for indoor physical work and 16C-30C for office work. I'm sure it will be the same or thereabouts here.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #4
  5. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,375 3,229
    Here we don't actually have a maximum.
    Though the amount of work you can get out of people in a high temperature workplace is going to be somewhat reduced if they have to keep stopping for drinks.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #5
  6. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,704 4,562
    In the past in Germany, above 30C meant that the workforce had to have the day off. Nowadays employers have wised-up and install AC units. Summers in mainland Europe can be unbearably hot!
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #6
  7. SillyBill

    SillyBill UKBF Regular Free Member

    331 179
    This is where you really rely on people to be reasonable, employer and employee. Fortunately this is one area where for the most part we have had always had everyone on board.

    I am positive on the very coldest days in areas of our 1950's unit (with some whole rooms/areas not heated) we'd go well below the permissible indoor temperature figure but if staff want to take an extra break to sit in the warm in the canteen and drink warm coffee at my expense then that it is okay with me. Also provide staff with whatever workwear they want, no quibble, pick it from the brochure we'll buy it. Equally on the very hot days we are laid back enough for people to take more drinks breaks and also stock the freezer full of free ice pops/ice creams.

    Unfortunately there always can be that one staff member that thinks it is helpful to down tools in protest or be difficult. Not much you can do about it, if it is a pattern of difficultness then obviously best to ship them out at the first opportunity. Running a business is hard enough work without having to babysit kids.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2020 By: SillyBill Member since: Dec 11, 2019
    #7
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  8. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,375 3,229
    Wow, thats more than double what a really hot day in the summer is.

    People complain when temperature is above 20 in my workplace.
     
    Posted: Oct 18, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #8
  9. BreezSteez

    BreezSteez UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    This is a very interesting consideration. Here we have health inspectors and legal aid council to refer to about labor regulations. Where is the warehouse located?
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: BreezSteez Member since: Nov 26, 2020
    #9
  10. Opinion87

    Opinion87 UKBF Regular Free Member

    604 198
    It's hinted at in the name... UK Business Forums, so please hazard a guess at where they're located. The laws here will be wildly different to those in individual states over your side of the pond.
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: Opinion87 Member since: Jul 1, 2015
    #10
  11. BreezSteez

    BreezSteez UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    Noted, thanks. I saw someone in the thread mention Germany soo, yea pardon my open-mindedness, it may be unfamiliar to the way you do things "over there".
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: BreezSteez Member since: Nov 26, 2020
    #11
  12. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Legend Full Member

    10,704 4,562
    That was me - I have a German company (that earns money) as well as a UK lifestyle company.

    I am assuming that you are Gloria Okafor. Love the books from what I can see of them - Gina's Hair reminded me of my wife - she was a tiny thing with a fro when we met. She's still a tiny thing!
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #12
  13. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    14,925 4,029
    Where is 'here'?
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #13
  14. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,649 1,250
    IS the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act still current - that set out quite prescribed circumstances but was quite sensible - in a shop, for instance, there is a door, so the included phrase "in which the maintenance of a reasonable temperature is not reasonably practicable" means keeping to the prescribed temperature is not actually required. It also says you afford them reasonable opportunities to warm up.

    Provide them with the warm clothing, and if they choose not to wear it - tough!
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #14
  15. BreezSteez

    BreezSteez UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    Thanks for the reply! I'm always open to hear from successful business owners. I'm not the person you may think - my name is Bree. It's a pleasure to meet you! I'll be looking into your channel.
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: BreezSteez Member since: Nov 26, 2020
    #15
  16. BreezSteez

    BreezSteez UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    Here is in the US. The labor laws can be pretty strict, but I had not even thought about temperatures of a facility. Certain hazards come along with the job description, I hadn't considered how these exceptions are accommodated in the law. I've worked in office buildings that were extremely cold, sweaters in the summertime cold, and the reason was for the purpose of keeping the computers from overheating. Great discussion!
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: BreezSteez Member since: Nov 26, 2020
    #16
  17. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,375 3,229
    Yeah here in the UK we can end up with pretty cold offices too. Not from being kept cold for equipment but from heating systems being off for 6 months of the year.
    The sort of place where you go outside at lunchtime to warm up.
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #17
  18. BreezSteez

    BreezSteez UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    13 1
    Wowee. So it sounds like employee rights can be flexible when it comes to the question of workplace temps? I'd be interested to hear more about these legalities in the UK.
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: BreezSteez Member since: Nov 26, 2020
    #18
  19. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    26,375 3,229
    Not quite.
    Enforcing minimum temperatures while keeping your job not always a good thing.
    And some spaces are a beggar to heat - my warehouse I didn't try heating several hundred cubic metres. But heating the worker was easy.

    What suits a warehouse doesn't necessarily suit an office though. And vice versa.
     
    Posted: Nov 28, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #19