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When is it too hot to work?

It is no longer possible to gauge the Dutch weather. Summers in particular have incredible peaks, which means that you may have to work for weeks in warm weather. The summer of 2018 is even officially the hottest summer in three centuries proved. And with the summer of 2019 coming up, you naturally want to know what the legal maximum temperature at work is and at what temperature you can refuse work. We explain that in detail in this blog.


Working with warm weather

Working in warm weather is often very annoying. But it's not just the temperature outside that determines how warm you are. Factors such as relative humidity, heat radiation, clothing, air speed and physical exertion also play a major role in determining when it is too hot to work. Of course many people are on holiday during the summer period, but a large group is of course still at work. Also with tropical temperatures. The question is therefore: when is it too hot to work?


The temperature should not cause any harm to health
Because so many different factors influence the temperature at your workplace, it is difficult to say what the exact maximum temperature is. That is why general rules have been drawn up for work in offices and small work rooms to determine whether the temperature is not too high. However, these are indications and not legal limits. It has been laid down in the Working Conditions Decree that the temperature in the workplace must not be detrimental to your health as an employee. In doing so, account must be taken of the nature of the work and the physical load that results from it. The general rules given by the Arbo are as follows:

  1. The ideal summer temperature is between 23 and 26 ˚C;
  2. When the mercury exceeds 26 ˚C, there is additional physical strain and consideration should be given to possible measures;
  3. In the case of light physical office work, a maximum temperature of 28 ˚C applies;
  4. In the case of intensive, physically strenuous work, a maximum temperature of 26 ˚C applies, provided there is a clearly perceptible air flow. If this is not the case, a maximum temperature of 25 ˚C applies;
  5. In the case of very intensive physically strenuous work, a maximum temperature of 25 ˚C applies, provided there is a perceptible luminous flux. If this is not the case, a maximum temperature of 23 ˚C applies.

In order to determine whether there is a body-threatening or unhealthy situation, an expert must assess the situation.


Protective equipment

If the temperature can nevertheless cause damage to the health of employees, personal protective equipment must be made available. This can be done in various ways. Think of creating extra shade, providing cool drinks or protective work clothing.


If the use of personal protective equipment is not sufficient to prevent damage to health, the duration of the work must be limited or alternated with staying and / or work in a cooler place in such a way that no damage to health occurs.


What can you do about it?

You expect your employer to take action when the mercury rises too fast. After all, such situations do not benefit the results. Which concrete measures need to be taken depends on the work you do and under what circumstances this is done. Do you think the temperature at your workplace is too high? Then ring the bell with your employer to take measures.

Questions or help?

Does your employer refuse or are the measures not sufficient? In that case you can contact the Inspectorate SZW (the labor inspectorate) or the Working Conditions Service. Do you have any questions? Then contact us. We can help you further. We can be reached by telephone on 0345 - 851 963, but you can also email us via

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