1st December 2022
Keeping the Workplace and Staff Warm During the Energy Crisis
With concerns about rising energy costs, the H&S advice line has recently received a high number of calls from clients about options to save energy and reduce costs, with clients quite rightly being concerned about their heating bills over the coming months.
This article therefore takes a closer look at what options you do have to both keep staff warm and stay legal.
Whilst the cost of energy is undoubtedly a big worry for many businesses, there are legal requirements which must be adhered to, the heating cannot therefore be simply switched off to save money.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states that during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.
The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) which accompany the regulations and has ‘special legal status’, requires that the temperature in a workplace should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius. If work involves rigours physical effort, then the temperature should be at least 13 degrees Celsius. This also applies to any area staff would be expected to work is such as storeroom and unoccupied areas – other than for very short periods.
To assist in monitoring temperatures the ACOP calls for a number of thermometers to be installed in order to determine the temperature in any workplace inside a building. Thermometers should be available at suitable locations, but do not need to be provided in each workroom. Thermometers should not be located directly in front of windows or near radiant heat sources.
What Can you Do?
Well, the legal requirements as detailed above clearly mean that you cannot simply switch off the heating to save money. However, there are a range of measures you can take, which should have an immediate effect on your energy consumption within the workplace:-
- Turn off heating you are not using.
- Turn down the heating in all areas by 1 degree. If this remains successful, then go lower –
until you reach the legal minimum.
- Adjust thermostats to switch off an hour before closing hours so that the area is still warmed
but begins to cool down as people start to leave.
- Only turn on lights and equipment when they are needed – consider senor activated lights
- Install self-closing devices on doors to prevent them being left open and allowing hot air to
- Check for draughts where hot air could escape – meaning your money is being instantly
- Review insulation in key areas such as roofs and improve where required.
- Communicate with staff about your concerns and encourage their involvement.
- Ask staff to wear appropriate clothing at work and provide them with regular hot drinks etc.