When the weather turns colder, employees who work inside can turn up the AC or put on extra clothing.
However, for those who work outside, the change of season brings extra hazards that employers need to be aware of.
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 and accompanying Approved Code of Practice set out the required temperatures for working.
They provide workplaces must be at least 16C or 13C where rigorous physical effort is required. However, the rules don’t apply “where it would be impractical to maintain those temperatures”. In other words, there is no legal minimum temperature for working outside – even if it’s brass monkeys out there!
The regulations recognise it can be very difficult controlling the environment or separating workers from the cold – cranking up the thermostat is not usually an option outdoors!
Nonetheless, employers have a duty of care to make sure no one works in unsafe or unhealthy conditions, including cold weather.