How cold does it have to get to be sent home from work? Your rights during snowy weather explained

Gritters in Yorkshire - Tony Johnson
Gritters in Yorkshire - Tony Johnson
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Sheffield has been covered by a blanket of snow and temperatures have plummeted thanks to the 'Beast from the East'.

Snow has fallen continually across the city since Tuesday evening while temperatures have dipped as low as -6C.

Cold winds have also meant that this temperature feels as low as -11C with the Met Office even issuing a red snow warning in some parts of the country.

Getting to work has been an arduous task for many Sheffield residents with roads filled with snow and many bus and tram routes badly affected.

But some heroic employees have indeed made it into work but they may be wondering how cold it has to get before they can legally be sent home.

Do employers have to keep their workplace at a certain temperature and can staff go home if it is too chilly?

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, the temperature inside the workplace should provide 'reasonable comfort' without the need for special clothing.

It continues that 'all reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a temperature which is as close as possible to comfortable'.

But, it all depends on what the temperature reading is inside your workplace.

Government guidance indicates that the temperature should not fall below 16C, no matter how cold it is outside, or 13C is employees are doing physical work.

Employers must stick to the health and safety law at work which includes keeping the temperature at a comfortable level and providing fresh and clean air.

But, there is no cap on the maximum temperature that staff can work in.

Employers should do what they can, including providing additional heating and allowing their employees regular breaks and the chance to have a hot drink, should it get too cold.