Work environment : what the law says

Many pieces of legislation regulate the work environment to which employees are entitled. First, concerning the lighting of working premises, several parameters are to be taken into account while not neglecting the human factor. Since August 1983, workplace lighting has been regulated. The light regulation is an integral part of the Labor Code and applies to all premises assigned to work and their outbuildings, walkways, stairs, circulations, warehouses. In these texts are particular mentioned :

  • Natural lighting: “Workplaces should have as much natural light as possible”;
  • The lighting in the work area: “The level of illumination must be adapted to the nature and the precision of the work to be performed”;
  • The special cases in the circular of April 11, 1984: “It is desirable to modify the levels of illumination according to certain conditions encountered and in particular the visual possibilities of the workers. Measures may be proposed by the occupational physician “;
  • The stroboscopic effect, article R4223-8 of the Labor Code states: “The phenomena of light fluctuation must not be perceptible nor cause a stroboscopic effect”.e. Le texte précise également que le chauffage doit fonctionner de manière à maintenir une « température convenable » sur le lieu de travail. Par ailleurs, la réglementation (article R4213-7) prévoit que les équipements et les caractéristiques des locaux de travail doivent être conçus de manière à permettre l’adaptation de la température à l’organisme humain pendant le temps de travail. Dans ce cadre, l’employeur doit tenir compte des méthodes de travail et des contraintes physiques supportées par les salariés.

Concerning the air quality, the code of work is again very clear (articles R.4222-1-a-R.4222-3), the employer must:

  • Guarantee a threshold of air renewal;
  • Maintain a minimum air volume.

As for the temperature (cold or hot), texts are more vague. The Labor Code (article R4223-13) provides that closed rooms assigned to work must be heated during the cold season. The text also states that the heating system must operate in such a way as to maintain a “suitable temperature” at the workplace. In addition, the regulations (article R4213-7) stipulate that the equipment and the characteristics of the working premises must be designed in such a way as to enable the temperature to be adapted to the human body during working hours. In this context, the employer must take into account the working methods and the physical constraints borne by the employees.

Finally, concerning noise at work, the employer has several obligations:

  • Avoid risks
  • Evaluate risks that can not be avoided
  • Tackle risks at source
  • Act on the conditions and organization of work (choice of equipment, processes, substances …);
  • Train and inform employees about the risks and their prevention;
  • Take collective protective measures giving them priority over personal protection measures


The ideal work environment

For several years now, well-being at work has been at the heart of the debate. The main benefit for the employer: efficient, productive, motivated employees, and less absenteeism and sick leave. Today, it is proven that environmental factors have an influence on well-being at work.

Among these factors, natural light is associated with a higher level of comfort and productivity than artificial light. The minimum illuminance level for working in good conditions is 300 lux. Below that level, employees may experience visual fatigue or even headache at the end of the day. Similarly, the presence of plants, a view of a green space, a poster showing a natural landscape is beneficial to reduce the level of stress and / or to increase workers’ productivity.

Also, many studies have demonstrated the influence of air quality on job satisfaction and individual performance in everyday work. A well ventilated workspace is less than 800 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. Beyond 1000 ppm it becomes difficult to focus and make decisions. Studies have shown that humans lose about 30% of concentration level in a room with too much CO2.

On the noise side, for a person to focus on his work, the noise perceived by his ear should not exceed 40 decibels.

Finally, on the temperature side, the ideal range is between 19 ° C and 23 ° C, especially for sedentary work.


Collect et analyse data to assess and improve work environment

To be able to provide an ideal framework for employees, it is necessary to be able to measure and analyze these environmental data. Smart Building solutions such as SMATI from Hxperience make this analysis available in a user friendly business application.

SMATI relies on sensors installed in the different areas of your offices to collect data on temperature, hygrometry, brightness, air quality, noise and analyze them. SMATI provides the processed information in the form of dashboards, graphs available both to managers and real estate operators for the implementation of corrective actions as well as to employees who can compare their feelings to real data.

A system of alerts and notifications when certain values ​​exceed predefined thresholds can also be easily set.

Crossing the occupancy rates in different spaces with their environmental data makes it possible to better understand why certain areas are more visited than others, and then to measure the impact of environmental improvement action plans on attendance.

Thanks to its comprehensive space management solution combined with comfort data in the work environment, Hxperience’s SMATI solution provides the operator or space manager with a real monitoring and decision support tool in order to offer optimized spaces which offer optimal comfort for its occupants.

To optimize your working environment, do not hesitate to contact our team of experts to find out more about the SMATI Solution.