Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsWarehouse Temperature
hri_Admin Staff asked 3 years ago

Are there minimum temperatures for warehouse locations in Ontario? The ESA states:
“In a health care facility or an industrial establishment, such as a factory, store, shop or office, the regulations set a minimum temperature of 18 °C, subject to some exemptions for things like work outdoors or in freezers….There are no set minimum or maximum temperatures for other workplaces.”
Would a warehouse count as a factory or shop?

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 3 years ago

You’re confusing the ESA and OHS laws. Specifically, the 18°C requirement comes from the Ontario OHS Regulations for Industrial Establishments (Section 129). Yes, a warehouse IS a kind of workplace covered by the Ind. Ests. Regs. But notice that Sec. 129(2(c) of the Regs. makes an exception for warehouses and other workplaces where perishable goods are stored. I’ve pasted in the entire Section, although you’re apparently familiar with it. Bottom Line: The 18°C DOES cover your warehouse unless the workplace is used for perishables or qualifies for any of the other Section 129(2) exemptions.
Final Note: While the other OHS Regs may not specify a precise temperature (and I’ll take your word for it that they don’t), there are still requirements that employers maintain suitable thermal comfort levels and take measures to prevent cold or heat stress. Hope that helps and thanks for the interesting Q. Glenn
OHS, Industrial Establishments Reg., RRO 1990, Reg 851
129. (1) Subject to subsection (2), an enclosed workplace shall be at a temperature,
(a) suitable for the type of work performed; and
(b) not less than 18° Celsius.  R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 129 (1).
(2) Clause (1) (b) does not apply to a workplace,
(a) that is normally unheated;
(b) where the necessity of opening doors makes the heating of the area to the temperature specified in clause (1) (b) impracticable;
(c) where perishable goods requiring lower temperatures are processed or stored;
(d) where radiant heating is such that a worker working in the area has the degree of comfort that would result were the area heated to the temperature specified in clause (1) (b);
(e) where the process or activity is such that the temperature specified in clause (1) (b) could cause discomfort; or
(f) during the first hour of the main operating shift where process heat provides a substantial portion of building heat.  R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 851, s. 129 (2).