Legal Temperature to Work Indoors

Talk to colleagues who are also at risk and remember that if you approach your employer together, you usually have more legal protection than if you file a complaint alone. You can also protect yourself with hard facts: a significant number cannot be given at the upper end of the scale due to high temperatures, for example in glassworks or foundries. In such environments, it is always possible to work safely, provided that appropriate controls are in place. Factors other than air temperature, i.e. radiation temperature, humidity and air velocity, are becoming more important and the interaction between them becomes more complex with increasing temperatures. Workplace temperature is one of the potential hazards employers face in order to comply with their legal obligations. Employers should consult with workers or their representatives to find effective ways to deal with high temperatures. “Globe Temperature” or “Tg” means the temperature measured by a thermometer with its sensor in a matte black sphere exposed to radiant heat, Vernon Globe or equivalent. Virginia is developing a standard to “reduce/eliminate injuries, illnesses and deaths due to excessive heat in indoor and outdoor workplaces.” Getting a cool welcome at work? Or do you feel warm under the collar in your work? In these cases, it is often workers outside, under a blazing sun, but there are many indoor situations with extreme heat: mines, foundries, even warehouses. In all of these cases, American workers are at risk. Workers in a cold environment risk hypothermia, lowering core body temperature to 95°F or lower.

This is the temperature below which bodily functions are impaired, and it occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce. It is extremely dangerous and requires aggressive but carefully monitored warm-up treatment. In practice, hypothermia in the workplace is not a problem unless the ambient temperature drops below 50 to 60°F. However, health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism, circulatory problems or cardiovascular disease exacerbate a worker`s susceptibility to hypothermia. Older workers and those in poor physical condition may also be more vulnerable. While there is no hard and fast rule on office temperatures, OSHA is concerned about indoor air quality in offices and has issued several regulations to eliminate indoor air pollution. These regulations recommend that office temperatures be kept between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity between 20 and 60%. In the past, OSHA has protected workers from extreme heat by using the general duty clause, a “catch-all provision” in the Occupational Health and Safety Act that requires employers to provide workplaces and workplaces free from recognized hazards, which previously included heat exposure. OSHA noted that in a 2019 case, A.H. Sturgill Roofing Co.

v. The Minister of Labour of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Board (SSHRC) has set a high bar for the application of the general duty clause in cases of exposure to heat and other potentially hazardous environmental conditions. In 2020, an OSHRC judge followed Sturgill and overturned five heat risk citations against the U.S. Postal Service because OSHA couldn`t rely on a National Weather Service guide to determine the severity of the heat. Dehydration can occur quickly in a cold work environment, so proper fluid practices are crucial. Whenever possible, work should be done in pairs so that workers can keep an eye on each other. Radiant radiators can be used and wind barriers reduce wind chill. Training on how to recognize and manage cold stress is also important and should be integrated into the health and safety programs of workplaces where cold is expected to work. OSHA does not set temperature control standards for businesses whose employees work outdoors, such as construction and landscaping.

The organization provides information, advice and resources to employers and workers in affected industries on the prevention of heat-related illness. Indoor workplaces must maintain a minimum air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit during heavy work, unless process requirements prohibit it. If you work or plan to work in extreme temperatures, deal with symptoms of heat stress (hot, dry skin; Sweat; Hallucinations; high temperature; Confusion; and dizziness) and cold stress (tremors, fatigue, loss of coordination, blue skin, dilated pupils). If this happens to you or a co-worker, don`t wait to see if it gets worse: notify your supervisor, start first aid in cold or hot weather and, if indicated, call 911. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces federal laws and standards regarding workplace and employee safety. Within the DOL, the Office of Safety and Health Administration is the primary agency that oversees workplace regulation nationwide. OSHA`s recommendations for workplace air treatment set federal standards for temperature and humidity. Regardless of the size of the company, the minimum temperature for indoor workplaces is 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the maximum is 76 degrees Fahrenheit. In this example, a facility must calculate the WGBT and constantly monitor and adjust conditions based on the highest effort of workers in the work environment. Some manufacturers may find this level of calculation impractical due to different or changing production schedules and different outdoor heat conditions, especially during heat waves. If you find the temperature irritating (but not dangerous to your health), you should first know if your colleagues agree with you.