Staff Working Conditions and
Staff Production and Their Efficiency
It is well understood that staff find it difficult to work efficiently when excessively hot, compared with working in comfortable room conditions. It is therefore just as much in the employer's interests to maintain good working conditions for the staff as it is in the interests of staff.
Optimum Working Environment
Whilst there is
no maximum working temperature laid down by law and employees do not
have a right to walk out if their office is too hot (unless there is a
serious and imminent danger to health), employers have a duty of care
towards their staff and are legally obliged to provide a working
environment that is properly ventilated and avoids extremes of heat and
The Health & Safety At Work Act demands that the
temperature in workplaces inside buildings must be 'reasonable'. The
Offices, Shops & Railway Premises Act also obliges employers to
maintain a 'reasonable temperature'.
The accepted zone of
thermal comfort for most kinds of work in the UK lies between 16ºC and
24ºC. The World Health Organisation recommends a maximum working
temperature of 24º C.
The Approved Code of Practice for the
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states "all
reasonable steps should be taken to achieve a comfortable
temperature". This code suggests some measures for the hot summer
weather, such as insulating hot pipes and equipment, shading windows,
providing air-cooling equipment, and using fans to increase
ventilation. It also suggests rest breaks, cool drinks and limiting
the amount of time spent in particularly hot areas.
With air-conditioning, an employer can get the most production out of his workforce despite the hot weather.
A 'Cold Going Around the
Air-conditioning systems, properly maintained, provide a clean environment for staff in which they can work efficiently. We have all heard of a 'cold going around the office' and maybe even 'sick building syndrome.' That just means stale air, high humidity levels, and viruses passing from one person to the next, sending staff home for 2-3 days to recover. Even without any air-conditioning, this is quite normal in an office environment. If one added up the cost of those missing staff, and compared it with the cost of installing an air-conditioning system to clean and condition the room air, it would reveal a short payback period for the business owners.
Additionally, with the threat of a swine flu pandemic increasingly with every news bulletin, this calculation has even greater importance for a business.
Where does the Dirt Come From?
Dust comes from the skin, hair, and clothes or can be brought in on one's shoes or blown in with 'fresh air.' Mildew, fungus and moulds can come in along with the dust. Another important factor is that the survival rate of the influenza virus greatly increases as humidity levels increase above 50%.
Tacking the Problem
An air conditioning system is a real benefit, not just in providing comfortable room conditions, as regards temperature, but also holding humidity levels down, and filtering out dust, smoke, bacteria, viruses, mould, fungus, mildew and gasses from the room air. Without such an air-conditioner, the dirty air circulates around the office, passing from one occupant to the next, until all in the staff in that room breathe the same dirty air.
Room Units are fitted with high performance filters, which trap small dust, particles and pollen as small as 0.01 microns and prevent the propagation of bacteria and viruses. The filter eliminates mould spores and bacteria and deactivates viruses. Other filtering features are available too.
Thorough and regular maintenance is also important to maintain the high standard of cleanliness in the occupied areas. (See our webpage on Maintenance.)
We can also offer portable air-purifier units, which are ideal additions to any office to boost the cleanliness of an office. (See our webpage on Air Purifiers.)
When reviewing your offices conditions, take account of these benefits and ensure that your staffs are given the benefit of a clean environment in which they can safely and efficiently work, and the business benefits through reduced staff absence through sickness.
We are ready and waiting to help you with any air-conditioning requirements you might have. Telelphone: 01342-31497 and ask for our Technical Manager.