Q: What is the minimum and maximum temperature acceptable for an indoor work environment?
The regulatory requirements for workplace temperatures are set by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. Under the regulations it states that the temperature of indoor workplaces should be reasonable. The Approved Code of Practice defines a reasonable temperature indoors as being normally at least 16°C unless the work involves severe physical work in which case the temperature should be at least 13°C.
Q: What is the minimum and maximum temperature acceptable for an outdoor work environment?
There is no legal minimum for people working outdoors. This does not mean that people who work outside are completely unprotected during time periods of severe or extreme weather, under the Health and Safety regulations, an employer owes an employee a ‘duty of care’. This means that an employer is responsible for ensuring that employees do not have to work in unsafe or unhealthy conditions. Working in extreme cold could well amount to a breach of this duty of care.
Q: What is the maximum decibel level for an office work environment? What is the maximum decibel level for an industrial/construction work environment?
There are two levels of noise exposure at which employers are required to take certain steps to reduce the harmful effects of noise on the hearing of employees:
The lower exposure action value is a daily or weekly average noise exposure level of 80 decibels, at which the employer has to provide information and training and make hearing protection available.
The upper exposure action value is set at a daily or weekly average noise exposure of 85 decibels, above which the employer is required to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce noise exposure, such as engineering controls or other technical measures. The use of hearing protection is also mandatory if the noise cannot be controlled by these measures.
No worker can be exposed to noise exceeding 87 decibels.
Q: What is minimum amount of breaks an employer has to offer?
Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day if they work more than 6 hours a day.
Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, for example, if a worker finishes work at 8pm they should not start work again until 7am the next day.
Workers have the right to:
• An uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week, or
• 48 hours each fortnight
A worker’s employment contract may state that they are entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work, all individuals are advised that they check their own contracts of employment in respect of this.
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