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There is no maximum temperature limit in the workplace

You do have a right to have a safe, comfortable workplace in Canada. You deserve not to be exposed to conditions that would put you in harm's way or that could cause physical problems. However, there is no law on the books at this time that sets a maximum limit for the temperature in your workplace.

This is true despite the fact that serious discomfort can be linked to certain temperature and relative humidity combinations, and excessive heat exposure can cause heat strokes, fainting, exhaustion, and similar issues.

Though no legislation has been passed, that does not mean that health and safety agencies don't monitor temperatures at all. They will typically use the Threshold Limit Values for Heat Stress when determining if there is a problem.

These limits, which were first established at the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), look at heat stress indicators to go beyond the mere temperature in the workplace. Instead, they use the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) system. This looks at air movement, temperature, humidity and radiant heat.

The value of these other indicators depends on the job. For example, it may feel far too hot in a humid warehouse, but workers in the same temperature zone may not have problems if working outside with cool air movement. The system takes this into account and acknowledges that not all work environments in Alberta are the same.

So, with or without legislation setting a determined maximum temperature, it is clear that workers are not supposed to be exposed to dangerous conditions. If you have been or are facing related issues -- like discrimination after asking for changes -- be sure to look into your legal options.

Source: CCOHS, "OSH Answers Fact Sheets," accessed Aug. 24, 2016

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