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Temperature Conditions - Legislation

What does the legislation state about temperature conditions at work?

In some cases, legislation provides a range of acceptable temperatures for specific circumstances. In other cases, occupational health and safety jurisdictions use the Threshold Limit Values® for heat stress or cold stress as published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Some Canadian jurisdictions have adopted these TLVs as occupational exposure limits and others use them as guidelines.


What does the legislation require?

A summary of legislation concerning temperature is provided below. This list does not cite the exact text of each section. In all cases, consult with your jurisdiction to confirm what legislation applies in your situation, and that the most current legislation is applied. A list of contact information for all Canadian occupational health and safety jurisdictions is available.

Table 1
Canadian health and safety regulations with respect to thermal conditions in the workplace
Jurisdiction Regulation Temperature
(This list does not cite the exact text of each section
Canada, Federal Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 9.9: personal service food preparation area: 18°C minimum/29°C maximum
Section 14.9(2): motorized materials handling equipment, operators' compartment: 26°C maximum
Section 16.10(2)(b) First aid room: 21°C to 24°C
National Joint Council (Public Service Canada) Occupational Health and Safety Directive Section 2.2 Environmental Conditions: Ideal range between 20-26°C. Temperatures between 17°C and 20°C and above 26°C can be uncomfortable, and occupancy in each of those extremes should not exceed 3 hours daily or 60 hours annually.
Humidex 40°C maximum (as measured at workstation)
British Columbia Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Heat: Sections 7.27 to 7.32: current ACGIH TLVs®
Cold: Sections 7.33 to 7.38: current ACGIH TLVs®
Alberta (Guidelines only)  
Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 70: Thermal conditions: Provide and maintain measures to protect workers, and offer reasonable thermal comfort to workers
Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation Section 4.12: Thermal Stress: current ACGIH TLVs® for heat and cold exposure
Section 4.13: Thermal Conditions: appropriate to work being done
Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act Clause 25(2)(h): General duty clause
Ministry of Labour fact sheet on heat stress states: “For compliance purposes, the Ministry of Labour recommends the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for Heat Stress and Heat Strain published by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). These values are based on preventing workers’ core body temperatures from rising above 38°C.”
Construction Projects Regulations Section 260(3)(d): Change room for underground workers, 27°C minimum
Section 357(7): Medical locks, minimum of 18°C
Section 380 (2): Air lock used for people, maximum of 27 °C. Also see Section 384(2), 38 °C maximum
Industrial Establishment
Regulations
Section 129. Enclosed workplace, minimum of 18°C.
Quebec Regulation respecting occupational health and safety Sections 116 to 120: Heating Environment – Appropriate temperature considering the work being done.
Sections 121 to 124: Heat Stress
Schedule IV: Standards of Temperature in Establishments. Minimum depends on work being done (e.g., heavy work 12°C; light work 20°C)
Schedule V: Evaluation of Heat Stress – Outlines work/rest schedule and Wet Bulb-Globe Temperature (WBGT) equations.
New Brunswick General Regulations Section 21: In an enclosed place of employment, minimum depends on work being done (e.g., heavy work 12°C; light work 20°C)
Section 22: Extremes of Temperature: 1997 ACGIH TLVs® for heat and cold exposure
Nova Scotia Workplace Health and Safety Regulation Section 2.1 and 2.3: current ACGIH TLVs® for heat and cold exposure
Prince Edward Island General Regulations Section 11.10 and 11.11: In an enclosed place of employment, minimum depends on work being done (e.g., heavy work 12°C; light work 20°C). Exceptions apply.
Section 11.9: relative humidity in an office environment must be minimum of 30%
Section 42.1: Extremes of temperature - current ACGIH TLVs® for heat and cold exposure
Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 44: Reasonable and consistent with the nature and degree of work performed , as established by current ACGIH TLVs®
Section 566: Refuge station to be at minimum 10°C
Northwest Territories Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 74: Thermal conditions. Appropriate to nature of the work, effective protection of worker health and safety, and reasonable thermal comfort
Mine Health and Safety Regulations Sections 9.57 to 9.62: Program required when thermal conditions and nature of work can cause distress. 1994-1995 ACGIH TLVs®.
Nunavut Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 74: Thermal conditions. Appropriate to nature of the work, effective protection of worker health and safety, and reasonable thermal comfort
Mine Health and Safety Regulations Sections 9.57 to 9.62: Program required when thermal conditions and nature of work can cause distress. 1994-1995 ACGIH TLVs®.
Yukon Territory Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 5.75: Conditions specific to tower cranes
Occupational Health Regulations Section 9: Thermal environment. Reasonable and appropriate to the work performed.

Where can I find more information?

Document last updated on June 20, 2017

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.