How does temperature affect work performance?

Safeguru · 2023-08-03

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Temperature and humidity change considerably every summer, affecting work performance and health. This is often a reason for complaints from workers. Let's analyse the origin of these complaints and how to deal with them by achieving adequate thermal comfort.

Temperature in the workplace

The Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable indoor temperature in the workplace.

This depends on the work activity and the environmental conditions.

The minimum workplace temperature suggested by the Approved Code of Practice for working indoors should normally be at least:

• 16°C

• 13°C if much of the work involves rigorous physical effort.

In relation to higher working temperatures, there is no maximum . However, all workers are entitled to an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other.

Find out more about the temperature in the workplace.

Temperature affects productivity

It's a fact, indoors, and in all types of work. Exposure to extreme temperatures can be a stress factor and is associated with health problems and an increased risk of accidents at work.

Studies have found that temperature or frequent changes in it affect the ability to learn at work, whether in hot or cold conditions. Of course, motivation is also affected: workers are more motivated in comfortable temperatures.

Work performance also benefits from a comfortable temperature, and not only on a physical level. An acceptable temperature will allow us to be more productive, feel more motivated, and give better results.

Risks from exposure to high temperatures

The thermal environment can lead to health risks. These risks can have different origins and consequences:

- The workplace is in a hot climate zone.

- There is high heat radiation (e.g., in foundries, factories, furnaces or work with direct sun exposure).

- High humidity (e.g., in laundries).

- Tasks with protective clothing that increase body temperature (even if the temperature is not high).

- Work involving intense physical activity.

Therefore, temperature increases the likelihood of accidents and can also lead to occupational diseases due to exposure to the sun, circulatory and multi-causal diseases.

How can you work comfortable and safe?

In outdoor work, the provision of covered or shaded areas will help to reduce workers' exposure to the sun.

The use of safety glasses will be essential to protect the eyes from ultraviolet light, with lens tinting intended for sun exposure. It is also time to give more importance to sunscreen at work, as it prevents multiple diseases such as skin cancer and melanomas.

Workwear should be made of cool, breathable fabrics, facilitating transpiration, and preventing the accumulation of moisture. In addition, depending on the job, clothing should cover the arms and legs. Neck hoods also reduce sun exposure to this part of the body.

Caps and helmets will provide thermal comfort and reduce the likelihood of heat stress.

When working from home, try to keep the temperature as close to the recommended limits as possible. At home, you should sit at a desk that is not directly lit by the sun to avoid a rise in temperature and achieve greater comfort. Finally, drinking water frequently is essential. Do not wait until you are thirsty.

Check out our summer selection , with sunglasses, gloves made of breathable fabrics, the lightest workwea r, and much more.

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