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Heating at work something to remember - 31-12-2007

The TUC is today calling on employers to make sure that the heating in their offices, shops and factories is turned back on before staff return after the Christmas and New Year break, to ensure that their workplaces reach the minimum legal temperature.

Last year many employers only put on the heating on the morning their workforce returned to work, so many workers came back to freezing offices, factories and warehouses.

This year offices will have been closed for even longer - many for 12 days, since Friday 21 December - so the TUC is calling on bosses to act now to ensure that the same thing does not happen again.

The law requires most workplaces to be kept to at least 16 degrees centigrade during working hours, but because many workplaces have been without heating for such a long time it could take up to a day for buildings to get back to their normal temperatures - so some employers will be breaking the law.

Not only is working in arctic conditions very unpleasant, but excessively cold working environments can also affect dexterity and mobility. Employees with muscular pain, arthritis and heart conditions may have their health put at risk.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'This is not the season for Scrooge employers to scrimp on heating bills. Every year thousands of workers return from the festive break to a bitterly cold workplace, and bosses need to take action.

'Ensuring staff return to warm, comfortable workplaces is simple to organise - all employers need to do is to arrange for someone to come in early and turn the heating back on.'

Trades Union Congress

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