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Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 10 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Temperature Warehouse Health And Safety

Q.

Is there a legal minimum temperature for working in a warehouse?

(L Burns, 9 February 2009)

A.

An employer has a duty of care towards their employees and the responsibility of making sure that the workplace is a comfortable environment to be in. Every employer must comply by health and safety regulations that are in place to protect employees and make sure that their working conditions are in good order. They cannot expect you to work in an environment that is unsafe or bad for your health.

The government’s health and safety regulations state that employers must ensure that the temperature in the workplace is ‘reasonable’ at all times. In the accompanying code of practice it suggests that the temperature should be a minimum of 16 degrees Celsius unless the work involves a lot of physical activity where this can drop to 13 degrees Celsius. However, the guidelines take into account the varying nature of the ‘workplace’ and give some leeway for the fact that this may not always be possible due to the nature of the working environment. Therefore there is technically no single legal temperature that can be applied.

If you are working in a warehouse then it is likely that you will be doing a lot of physical activity and the guideline to use would be the 13 degrees Celsius. If you feel that the temperature in the warehouse is unacceptable then you have every right to ask for it to be raised. Use the guidelines above as your basis and find out what the current temperature is. If it is significantly less than 13 degrees Celsius then you will have a strong case for having it increased.

Your health and safety is paramount and you can refuse to do any work, without any action being taken against you, if you believe that your working conditions infringe your rights. Your safety executive or trade union representative should be able to help you make an official complaint to get the situation resolved. If this doesn’t do anything then you may want to think about reporting your employer to the health and safety executive who regulate working conditions and make sure that employees are being looked after fairly.

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What do you do if place of work is that cold you can bearly get heat inside of you when you come home after putting numerous layers on. Place wont pay to fix problem
Koko - 10-Feb-17 @ 11:01 PM
Hi we work in a refrigeration trim legs off pork. There is a fan blowing cold hair straight into our faces and it really cold to where to of us have caught a cold from it as is like a draft being on you all day.whats law on this
Ant - 8-Feb-17 @ 5:39 PM
If my company's workwear isn't keeping me warm enough can I wear my own clothes underneath my company uniform to keep warm.There uniform isn't warm enough so I put a hooded jumper under my tshirt that was company issue and I'm.being told to take it off even though they can see I'm freezing.Is there any way I can say this is not right my health is more important.
G - 23-Jan-17 @ 1:46 PM
i work in a retail store and it is -1 degrees and we are not aloud to close the door or get a heater as its to much to run is there any laws that i can go to my boss with and say i dont need to work or he / she has to supply a heater thanks
freddy - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:13 AM
I work in a warehouse on the top floor there are only 2 floors. But I work static at a table inspecting garments. We have no heating and have been told today that we won't be getting any heating at all. It is freezing. This will now be the 3rd year I have worked for this company with no heating. Is there anything I can do?
Mel1971 - 13-Jan-17 @ 6:54 PM
Bill - Your Question:
Hi. Thank you for your quick response. We did speak to management regarding the cold conditions. That's when we were told to turn off the blowers. Can you please tell me if 0 degrees with industrial blowers causing a wind chill is an acceptable temperature to work in? Thank you.

Our Response:
You're welcome. There’s no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures, eg when it’s too cold or too hot to work, just guidance. You can see the guidance via the TUC link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 2-Dec-16 @ 12:43 PM
Hi. Thank you for your quick response. We did speak to management regarding the cold conditions. That's when we were told to turn off the blowers. Can you please tell me if 0 degrees with industrial blowers causing a wind chill is an acceptable temperature to work in? Thank you.
Bill - 1-Dec-16 @ 8:24 PM
Hi. Please could you advise me on my next step. I work in a steel works and in the cold weather condensation becomes a problem with the steel, management have come up with this ingenious idea to hire dehumidifiers and industrial blowers. The temperature in work today was 0 degrees with the wind chill factor from these industrial blowers it felt much colder. Management was informed about staff suffering with the cold and blowing conditions. We were told not alot can be done but to turn the blowers off when were operating a crane in front of them but we must turn them back on when we have finished working in front of them. We work in a dangerous environment and cold fatigue was affecting all shop floor workers. Any advice would be great thank you.
Bill - 1-Dec-16 @ 7:18 PM
Meg - Your Question:
It was 0°c at work yesterday and before I even start work its -3°c, my boss seems to think one heater will be fine going underneath tables and it is until it gets knocked and turns itself off or has ran out of gas. The shutters have big, thick plastic strips that you had to walk through but my boss has also bunched them together and tied them like that. That was the only thing making it not so cold and bearable but now they're open we have the wind shooting us in the face, our fingers a numb so work slower and lips are turning blue. My boss wont listen to amyone hes stubborn and just tells us to wrap up but if I wrap up any more I won't be able to move. Tell me all this is fair :/

Our Response:
If a significant number of employees are complaining about this discomfort, you can complain collectively but informally at first, if your employer still dismisses your complaint and you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here. Your grievance procedure should be laid out in your contract. After raising the grievance your employer is under an obligation to have a meeting to discuss the issue. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 1-Dec-16 @ 10:14 AM
It was 0°c at work yesterday and before I even start work its -3°c, my boss seems to think one heater will be fine going underneath tables and it is until it gets knocked and turns itself off or has ran out of gas. The shutters have big, thick plastic strips that you had to walk through but my boss has also bunched them together and tied them like that... That was the only thing making it not so cold and bearable but now they're open we have the wind shooting us in the face, our fingers a numb so work slower and lips are turning blue. My boss wont listen to amyone hes stubborn and just tells us to wrap up but if I wrap up any more I won't be able to move... Tell me all this is fair :/
Meg - 30-Nov-16 @ 8:22 AM
A - Your Question:
Our current temp at work is 4 degrees it's bitterly cold ! We have reported this numerous times and nothing is being done about it. They supply no clothing , no warm place for breaks etc it's just a constant cold place for 8 hours a day.Who do I report this too as complaints to head office are being ignored It's now effecting people's health with chest infections etc Any advice would be great thankyou

Our Response:
If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see gov.uk link here which should help, if you wish to take the matter further.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 29-Nov-16 @ 12:00 PM
Our current temp at work is 4 degrees it's bitterly cold ! We have reported this numerous times and nothing is being done about it . They supply no clothing , no warm place for breaks etc it's just a constant cold place for 8 hours a day . Who do I report this too as complaints to head office are being ignored It's now effecting people's health with chest infections etc Any advice would be great thankyou
A - 28-Nov-16 @ 2:58 PM
Do they legally have to provide a canteen with hot food in large companies.
Danny - 19-Nov-16 @ 8:29 AM
Ally - Your Question:
Hi there I work in an opticians at a supermarket, what are the legal min temperature, it's currently 13.7

Our Response:
The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius, please see link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 18-Nov-16 @ 11:52 AM
Hi there I work in an opticians at a supermarket, what are the legal min temperature, it's currently 13.7
Ally - 17-Nov-16 @ 7:27 PM
Mark - Your Question:
Hi there. Please could you spare me some advice? I have recently started working for another company. Im a trucker. But the company I work for require me to load/unload my trailer working in a cold store refrigerated warehouse, the issue I have is my joints are becoming painful and arthritis is very strong in my family. Should I be given appropriate thermal clothing to do this work as I'm in there for an hour a time with just a t shirt, sweating and freezing at the same time. If so what clothing should it be. I also suffer alot with tonsillitis and it plays up after doing this. Can I refuse? Thankyou

Our Response:
Much depends on what is laid out in the terms of your contract. If you are having a problem with these issues and protective clothing is not supplied by your employer, then you may have to take these precautions yourself, please see HSE guidelines here. It may be also something you can discuss with your employer directly and ask for advice. I think in this case, communication and negotiation is key.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 11-Oct-16 @ 1:44 PM
Rach - Your Question:
Hi I have been told I am being moved from the office to the warehouse I am sat at a desk all day the warehouse has no heating and roller door and side door are open all day is there any law on heating as I am not happy that they are moving me plus I have a medical problem and I have told my boss and they are still moving me into the warehouse

Our Response:
The Approved Code of Practice suggests the minimum temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. Only if the work involves rigorous physical effort, should the temperature be at least 13 degrees Celsius. You can see more via the HSE link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 11-Oct-16 @ 12:37 PM
Hi there.... Please could you spare me some advice? I have recently started working for another company. Im a trucker. But the company I work for require me to load/unload my trailer working in a cold store refrigerated warehouse, the issue I have is my joints are becoming painful and arthritis is very strong in my family. Should I be given appropriate thermal clothing to do this work as I'm in there for an hour a time with just a t shirt, sweating and freezing at the same time. If so what clothing should it be. I also suffer alot with tonsillitis and it plays up after doing this. Can i refuse? Thankyou
Mark - 10-Oct-16 @ 8:51 PM
Hi I have been told I am being moved from the office to the warehouse I am sat at a desk all day the warehouse has no heating and roller door and side door are open all day is there any law on heating as I am not happy that they are moving me plus I have a medical problem and I have told my boss and they are still moving me into the warehouse
Rach - 10-Oct-16 @ 8:28 PM
Hello. I work in the warehouse mainly on loading bay where there is a 8 big door open all the time. In winter time is very windy and cold in there. We had to wear a safety bump caps and we could not wear a wooly hats under or on bump caps. I totally understand that. Now we don't have to wear a bump caps anymore but our boss said we can't wear wooly hats anyway. Its a company's policy. We can't cover our ears with a wooly hats to don't reduce audibility of the warehouse environment. Is the boss right?
Kobe - 7-Oct-16 @ 7:20 AM
I work 7.5 hours a night on freezers I have asked for gloves for at least 18 maths, been given all kinds none suitable for the job I supply my own boots and think the company should supply my gloves it has cost me a lot to buy my ownmy fingers and hands are now suffering through the cold . Please help
Annette - 21-Sep-16 @ 10:38 PM
Hi I work in a warehouse that is a family owend business its not smal but its not big compared to other companies....Ive woren a tank top for men for weeks now and I just got told I had to put on a regular shirt....now I don't mind but it gets really hot so I wear just as tank top to try to stay cool.... now this Warehouse has 2 roll up doors they have one fan facing the outside pushing hot air out and one facing the inside to keep the warehouse cool.... and we have to shovel and carry 40 pound bags of gravel and sand from one side of the building to the other.... now my question is can I get fired for wearing a tank top to stay cool in 98 degree Warehouse weather please help give me an answer thank you
Warehouse - 7-Jul-16 @ 9:16 PM
Dwf - Your Question:
Hi I work in a cold freezr that is -15/-30 we only get to come out every 3hrto 4hr I juat wanted to know the legal time peroid you should be allowed to carry on working inside thw freezer

Our Response:
British Standards highlights the need for a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the necessary controls such as wearing appropriate PPE, suitable and sufficient breaks in warming rooms with drinks dispensers etc. Your company should be following the guidelines laid out in the HSE link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 8-Apr-16 @ 12:23 PM
Hi i work in a cold freezr that is -15/-30 we only get to come out every 3hrto 4hri juat wanted to know the legal time peroid you should be allowed to carry on working inside thw freezer
Dwf - 7-Apr-16 @ 4:14 PM
hi I work in a freezer (cold store) 8 hours a day it's anything between -18 to -28 but don't get any extra pay its just the standard minimum wage, been told the company is acting illegally here as by everyone who works in cold store is entitled to extra pay?
bob - 5-Apr-16 @ 9:06 AM
aliceinherwonderland - Your Question:
Hi,So I work at McDonalds and I'm pretty sure the past few shifts have definitely had some definitely illegal stuff in. Today I was on a 9-4, and as I am under 18 I'm entitled to a break of 45 minutes, which I didn't get until 1.40(only ten minutes over due, but not the point). But also, for the past 6 shifts I have either been carted off outside or stuck up on the cash window for drive thru. Since our store is very busy we never get time to close the window, or move away to warm up for that matter. We have to pay for our thin fleeces, or forced to wear a smelly big high visibility jacket which half the time gets taken off you by another employee who has been sent outside to do a job. So what I'mthinking is, is it illegal to put the same 3/4 people on the same station every shift and leave them there without rotation. It was very cold today and the past 6 shifts, as I live in the north. I was on the station from 9.30 ish until 1.30, it was that cold I had to keep bending my knees to avoid them hurting (as we're not allowed to sit) after my only half an hour break since I was asked to come back early, I was shoved back up there until 4 where my manager proceeded to bribe me into staying until 7. This happens every shift I get, is there anything I can say/do to get rotated? I really don't think it's fair as I constantly have a cold, and am very prone to getting chest infections and swollen glands now.

Our Response:
Your company is not acting illegally, as far as I can judge from your comments. Regarding work breaks; workers under 18 are entitled to take 30 minutes for every four and a half hours that they work. If you are asked to work through your break on a busy period, your employer must make sure your break is taken as near to the original time as ppossible. Regarding the cold, I can only suggest you speak directly to your employer about your concerns and also check out your contract to see the terms you have agreed to and in addition, whether your employer is working within them.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 7-Mar-16 @ 2:34 PM
Hi, So I work at McDonalds and I'm pretty sure the past few shifts have definitely had some definitely illegal stuff in. Today I was on a 9-4, and as I am under 18 I'm entitled to a break of 45 minutes, which I didn't get until 1.40(only ten minutes over due, but not the point). But also, for the past 6 shifts I have either been carted off outside or stuck up on the cash window for drive thru. Since our store is very busy we never get time to close the window, or move away to warm up for that matter. We have to pay for our thin fleeces, or forced to wear a smelly big high visibility jacket which half the time gets taken off you by another employee who has been sent outside to do a job. So what I'm thinking is, is it illegal to put the same 3/4 people on the same station every shift and leave them there without rotation. It was very cold today and the past 6 shifts, as I live in the north. I was on the station from 9.30 ish until 1.30, it was that cold I had to keep bending my knees to avoid them hurting (as we're not allowed to sit) after my only half an hour break since I was asked to come back early, I was shoved back up there until 4 where my manager proceeded to bribe me into staying until 7. This happens every shift I get, is there anything I can say/do to get rotated? I really don't think it's fair as I constantly have a cold, and am very prone to getting chest infections and swollen glands now.
aliceinherwonderland - 6-Mar-16 @ 8:39 PM
cruicky - Your Question:
I work In a factory and the temperatures vary between ( -5 to 10 ) and every time we ask to get this sorted or we're not working in these conditions we get told if we stop working we won't get paid and there's a chance of us getting paid off Is this even legal to do this

Our Response:
Have you had a look at your contract and does the minimum temperature fall into the category laid out in it, and is your company falling in line with its procedures i.e providing protective clothing etc? Please see HSE link here. If the temperature and working conditions are laid out in your contract, there is little you can do as you have accepted these conditions by signing the contract. However, if the company is not keeping in line with what it laid out, then you have grounds to complain. Regarding your company's approach to your previous complaints, I can only suggest if it is not working within the boundaries of your contract, you could take up a collective grievance to the management, or speak to your union official if you have one. Please see ACAS link here. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 1-Mar-16 @ 9:58 AM
I work In a factory and the temperatures vary between ( -5 to 10 ) and every time we ask to get this sorted or we're not working in these conditions we get told if we stop working we won't get paid and there's a chance of us getting paid off Is this even legal to do this
cruicky - 29-Feb-16 @ 6:42 AM
Twitch - Your Question:
I work in a normal warehouse.we don't have any heaters and it gets down to 5 degrees regularly in the cold times.can we ask for the same clothes as full time staff or can we refuse to work.please help as I get I'll so often from bad chest

Our Response:
Please see further advice from the HSE here. You would really need to speak with your employer as you should be administered the same protection as full-time staff. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 20-Jan-16 @ 11:41 AM
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