Should You Send Your Staff Home If It’s Too Hot?
We are smack dab in the middle of summer here in the US, and there’s no telling how high the temperatures may soar. In fact, you often can’t even rely on the weather forecasters to give you an accurate outlook, so it’s just a case of enjoying it while you can, or if you’re very sensitive to heat, hoping and praying that it ends soon.
But there are a couple of things that you CAN guarantee when the temperatures start to soar….
Beer gardens will be packed full of patrons.
You’ll be bombarded with leaflets from your local barbecue equipment supplier.
And up and down the country, clammy office workers will be throwing open the windows and counting down the minutes until quitting time.
No one wants to be at work when the weather’s glorious outside, but as an employer, what are your responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a comfortable working environment?
You might be surprised to discover that no concrete legislation exists on this matter. The OSHA technical manual titled "Recommendations for the Employer" gives the most specific mention of office temperature. This is only a recommendation for standard procedure. According to Section III, Chapter 2, Subsection V of the publication, office temperature should be maintained in the range of 68 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
What constitutes as reasonable is open to interpretation, but you should consider the nature of your workplace, and the kind of work that is being carried out. It goes without saying that if the temperatures hit the 80s, then workers carrying out manual jobs outside are going to experience discomfort, and you need to consider their general health and well being, as well as reconsidering any performance targets that they might have.
Worrying about warmer weather and the impact that it might have on your workforce is something that we should be considering. It may seem easier to think about how our staff will get into work if a snowstorm brings the roads to a standstill, or what will happen if the furnace quits working during the darkest depths of winter. But the bottom line, exercise some common sense. Keep the best interests of your staff at the front of your mind. And try to not worry about it too much. After all, it’s almost definitely not going to last long…
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