When is it officially too cold to work? This is what the government has said

As the temperatures continue to plummet in Sheffield you may find yourself asking ‘surely it’s too cold to go to work?’. 

A yellow warning for snow and ice has been issued for Sheffield by the Met Office between midday today and lasting until 11am on Wednesday. 

Snow in Sheffield (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Snow in Sheffield (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Temperatures could dip to -4C degrees in Sheffield this week but, as we shiver in our offices, is there a temperature that means it’s too cold to work?

While there is no legal temperature for a workplace, the Governement has stated that it is your employers job to keep warmth levels ‘reasonable’. 

Generally, the guidance suggests that this should be around 16C, or 13C where the job involves manual labour.

There is no legal requirement to meet these exact numbers, however, as employers are expected to consider the individual circumstances of the workplace and consider what would be a comfortable temperature.

Your employer should have carried out a risk assessment which tackled such issues as keeping the workplace at an appropriate temperature to ensure there is no risk to the health and safety of employees.

If everyone in your office is complaining about the temperature in the office, then employers will have to consider whether their current approach is adequate as part of their ‘duty of care’.

So, if everyone seems to have a problem with how cold it is, you should complain to your employer about it, not just each other.

Hannah Parsons, a Principal Associate Solicitor at DAS Law, said: “If you work outdoors, your employer obviously has little control over the temperature of your working area, but they are still required to take steps to reduce the impact of work that keeps you outdoors for a long time.

“This might include measures such as supplying warm work clothes to employees, providing warm rest areas and hot drinks, and allowing breaks to be taken at appropriate intervals.

“They should also consider if winter is the best time to undertake certain types of work that may expose employees to cold temperatures.”