Last edited 25 Aug 2017

Workplace air conditioning

Air con office.jpg

Contents

Introduction

The responsibilities of an employer regarding workplace temperature during summer is an important factor during the warmer months. Failure to ensure a stable temperature can lead to an unproductive workforce as well as cause health issues, as a result of dehydration and other heat-related conditions.

Thermal comfort, the state of mind in terms of whether a person feels hot or cold, will also have an impact on workers' happiness. For more information, see Thermal comfort.

Workplace temperature is an important factor to monitor and manage, for both the safety and comfort of employees. Normal operating temperatures for workplace environments are vital to continual productivity.

Indoor conditions requirements

An indoor workplace requires a temperature that is regarded as ‘reasonable’. This is typically a temperature in the region of 15°C or slightly lower if there is strenuous work taking place.

Where air conditioning cannot be placed in a work environment – such as in an environment which requires a specific temperature for manufacturing processes – then fans should be used to ensure appropriate air flow. Sufficient space should also be provided to ensure freedom of movement.

Advantages and disadvantages

Many studies show that increased temperature can have a direct impact on productivity. Heat can make workers feel hot and sluggish. The warmer weather is also a disadvantage for hay fever sufferers - with running eyes and general discomfort having a direct impact on their workload.

A comprehensive air conditioning system allows for windows to remain closed throughout the summer and helps protect those suffering from the pollen of the outdoors.

As heat can increase moisture levels, which in turn leads to more mould and mildew forming. This adds to maintenance costs as well as potential respiratory issues for staff.

On the other hand, air conditioning can also dry out the work environment which can cause throat irritation and problems for workers who wear contact lenses. Also, extreme temperature changes from the outdoors to indoors can cause issues for workers who need to come and go frequently. Regulating the difference is important to ensure no discomfort in this situation.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance and checks are needed to ensure workplace air conditioning is working at optimal levels at all times. Like any piece of machinery, air conditioning needs to be checked and worked on in order to ensure performance is not affected at peak times of the year. This is done to check for clogging due to dirt and debris in the filters and also changing them when necessary.

Overall, an effective and efficient workplace air conditioning system is integral; both to ensure maximum comfort and productivity in the warmer months of the year.

--Heritage Heating and Cooling 13:39, 21 Aug 2017 (BST)

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