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State Law Requires Warm Workplaces

December 4, 2018
Although Massachusetts does not have a law about what constitutes too much heat in the workplace, there is a law requiring employers to make sure the workplace does not get too cold. Massachusetts general laws, chapter 149, §113, requires adequate heat in a variety of work locations and situations. Of course, adequate is defined differently in different types of workplaces.
Adequate heat must be provided from October 15 through May 15. Apart from adequate heat, the law also requires employers to provide workplaces that are well lighted, well ventilated and kept free from unsanitary conditions.
Covered workplaces include factories, workshops, manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile establishments, railroad freight houses and express terminals, public garages and premises used by express, trucking and transportation companies as well as any other building in which a person is employed. The only exception is buildings under construction. 
Although the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) has not issued regulations to enforce the statute, the DLS issued a guidance specifying the minimum temperature that must be maintained at each type of workplace during those seven months. Based on the law the DLS has established the following guidelines.  
Factories 60 - 62 degrees
Foundries 50 - 60 degrees
Machine Shops 60 - 62 degrees
Offices 66 - 68 degrees
Public Buildings 60 - 68 degrees
Restaurants 62 - 66 degrees
Schools 66 - 68 degrees
Stores 65 degrees
Theaters 62 - 65 degrees

PDF Version of Hazard Info Bulletin 382

Please call the AIM Employer Hotline at 1-800-470-6277 with questions about this or any other HR issue. Access to the Hotline is for members only.
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