Complain to OSHA if the lack of heat at work endangers health

Can They Do That?

Your Money

March 14, 2004|By Carrie Mason-Draffen

Does a company have to supply heat in its warehouse or office? On what minimum setting does an employer have to keep the thermostat?

While state and local governments may have regulations in this area, there is no national requirement for heating the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that while companies don't have to legally provide heat, OSHA will listen to worker complaints if you think the lack of heat jeopardizes your health and safety.

Even though an employer doesn't have to keep employees' tootsies from freezing, it's shortsighted to consign workers to a deep freeze. How productive will heat-seeking employees be if they're walking around flapping their arms and stamping their feet?

For more information about filing a complaint, look up the number of your local OSHA office in the phone book, or log into www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/complain.html.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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