Keeping UK offices cool during the summer

8th August 2016

It’s hot outside! With many parts of the UK tipping the 30 degree mark a couple of weeks ago and warm weather set to stay for the next few days at least. Working in an office can be unbearable in these conditions, and not just because you’d rather be outside.

Many UK workplaces still don’t have air conditioning and when they do, it may not be working properly due to poor maintenance – keeping ac and air ventilation equipment clean and regularly serviced will ensure a building is prepared for unseasonably warm weather.

Heat, health and productivity

Too much heat is not just irritating, it can be dangerous too – particularly for the very young or elderly. Managers and company owners have a responsibility for the health of their staff. It has also been proven that uncomfortable temperatures at either extremes reduce productivity.

If your place of work is too hot the following precautions will help keep employees safe and working effectively:

  • Make sure everyone keeps hydrated, the water cooler needs to be full!
  • Encourage staff to keep out of the sun during the hottest point of the day – 11am to 3pm. Lunchtime spent at a desk is never good, but seeking shade is a must.
  • For those in a factory or workshop, bosses must be mindful of keeping strenuous activity to a minimum. Maybe reschedule the day so physical work is avoided during the hottest points.
  • Consider moving people out of the hottest areas of the office into a cooler locations and use sunshades where possible.
  • Open windows at the coolest points of the day and in the rooms that are not in direct sunlight.
  • Send your team home with a bottle of water, particularly those who have to travel on busy, cramped and often very hot public transport.

Watch out for heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is when the temperature inside the body, known as the core temperature, rises above the normal 37°C (98.6°F) towards 40°C (104°F). Heat exhaustion can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if it leads to heatstroke.

Signs of heat stroke include heavy sweating, which causes the levels of water and salt in the body begin to drop, nausea and feeling faint. Keep an eye on staff and if you spot any of these signs take them to a cool place and give them plenty of water to drink. If they don’t feel better within half an hour they may be suffering from heat stroke and will need immediate medical attention.

Keep air conditioning operational

In a well ventilated and air conditioned building employees should be safe from the effects of too much heat once inside the building. To ensure air movement systems remain operational and efficient, regular maintenance is essential, with Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) monitored.

The Guardian team qualified to undertake COSHH compliance indoor air quality monitoring and assessment, covering the following areas:

  • Temperature
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Relative humidity
  • Airborne dust particulates
  • Airborne fungus and bacteria
  • Recommendations and remedial actions

By improving and maintaining indoor air quality, apart from safeguarding occupants’ health, the overall performance of heating, ventilating and air handling/conditioning systems will remain efficient, with less chance of breakdown – essential for staff safety and a businesses’ productivity in the summer months.

To find out more about our air hygiene services, click here.