Without the basics we take for granted, like lighting, running water and heating or air conditioning, it might not be advisable to continue business as usual in your premises if it could compromise the health and safety of workers, visitors or customers.
With regards to heating, the relevant Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that, except where it’s not reasonably achievable due to work processes, employees should be comfortable “without the need for special clothing” and therefore the temperature in the workplace should be at least 16 degrees Celsius, or at least 13 degrees Celsius if “work involves rigorous physical effort”. If the heating fails during winter, it might be necessary to send employees home or find an alternative place to work to prevent their health being put at risk.
Similarly, if the supply of clean water is interrupted or the plumbing system is somehow damaged so that waste can’t be flushed or drained away as usual, and therefore workers don’t have access to appropriate washing facilities, they can’t be expected to work in the premises.
Such issues can be mitigated by carrying out regular checks and maintenance, getting inspections and examinations done as required and by pre-emptively having reliable contacts that can promptly provide repairs, spare parts, replacements and/or equipment for hire. Their details should be noted in your business continuity plan and as part of your supply chain risk management programme.