Regulation 7 of the Workplace Health Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992 states that “the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable”, and suggests that “reasonable” means a minimum of 16C (60F) in most workshops and about 18C (63F) for offices. If the strenuous physical nature of the work can reasonably be expected to keep workers warm, the minimum falls to 13C / 55F.

However, there are some very good reasons for keeping workplace temperatures well above that which the law requires.

Productivity & Labour Costs

Numerous studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between workplace temperature and productivity. One from Cornell University showed a 44% increase in errors at temperatures below 68 Fahrenheit and calculated that the costs imposed on businesses average about 10% of their wage bill. Productivity peaks somewhere between 70 and 77 Fahrenheit (25C).

Other studies from Berkeley Lab and Northumbria University and Cornell University confirm these results. It is almost certain that the quality of work suffers significantly at a temperature of 60 degrees.

These losses don’t include the cost of workers who quit or take sick leave. A cold is called a cold for a reason – low temperatures lower resistance to disease. Absenteeism and worker turnover lower your productivity and raise your re-training costs.

Equipment, Stock & Energy Losses

In cold conditions, surfaces are prone to condensation and moisture doesn’t evaporate. As a result, machinery rusts faster and stock close to walls or sitting on concrete floors can be damaged by damp. On a typical shop floor, many components and raw materials are temperature sensitive, throwing out the efficiency of your processes and degrading quality control.

Meanwhile, uncomfortable workers bring in their own inefficient (and sometimes dangerous) heaters and interfere with thermostats and ventilation grilles. These uncontrolled behaviours raise your energy overheads far more than having an adequate planned heating strategy.

A properly designed heating system is a vital aspect of business design and critical to your bottom line.

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