Air conditioning in the workplace| Shiver me timbers…

shiver.gif I’ve just been blasted with a cool stream of air and stood up out of my chair to ask who the guilty party was. The declaration to my team went something like this: “I am absolutely freezing, has someone got the air conditioning on?” Everyone laughed when one of my colleagues, Mr A, turned to another, Mr B, and said, with a glint in his eye: “Isn’t that you Mr B?”

This sparked a debate about the wars of air conditioning in the office. Mr A then stated he thought I was feeling the cold more because “all men are warm blooded creatures”, and then it was suggested by a few of my colleagues I should post about air conditioning.

I would bet it’s a common issue in almost every workplace with air conditioning units – it’s either too cold or too hot. If someone could devise a system where everyone had control over their own desk space temperature, I’m sure they would be an instant millionaire…

18 Responses to Air conditioning in the workplace| Shiver me timbers…

  1. LIz Arriens 24 September 2007 at 12:02 pm #

    I don’t mind if it’s warm or cold but I think air conditioning systems should be soundless!

  2. Scott McArthur 24 September 2007 at 12:40 pm #

    Being a Scot I LOVE air con on ALL the time – even in the winter!

  3. Pabs 24 September 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    This is a real problem in our office – some swine keeps putting the aircon on which continually blasts freezing cold air down the back of my neck and we have a continual battle of switching it on/off several times a day.

    I think this links in with the office carbon footprint blog on this site too though: ours is switched on when it’s really not that hot outside, so you can switch it off and still be perfectly fine – or maybe even open a window (shock!).

    Offices seem to put aircon on as a matter of course, whereas I think it should be used on really hot days only: companies would save a load of money and we’d be reducing the amount of energy wasted too…

  4. Gareth 24 September 2007 at 2:04 pm #

    I agree with Scott the Scot – the colder the better, unless you are on the beach of course.

  5. Stephen Booth 24 September 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    In my workplace the biggest problem we have with airconn is that there’s a few unhealthy thin people who insist on wearing very little and turning the air conn off or setting the temperature to about 30 degrees C. The rest of us point out that this is unreasonably hot but they just complain about being cold and respond to suggestions that they put some clothes on as if such a thing would be a major violation of some essential right.

    They ignore any statement to the effect that they have the option of putting more clothes on if cold, the rest of us have a limit on what we can take off and not be sacked (or arrested) for indecency!


  6. Helen Edmonds 26 September 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    I am in an office without air conditioning and I say we should have it! It’s a lot easier to put a jumper on if it gets slightly too cold than it is to take all your clothes off when it gets too hot! Our office can get really stuffy, even in winter. Attempts to open a window in winter receive remarks like “are you mad?” But you can’t beat a bit of fresh air.

  7. mike 2 November 2007 at 12:30 am #

    I have a very good question if anybody can provide me with the proper information plz email me at thanx. Here we go, my girl-friend is training to drive truck with me, now the issue is she is training on a truck in my company and he doesn’t have air-conditioning. She can’t sleep at night, yet be expected to drive a full 8hrs off of 4 hrs of sleep due to lack of air flow in his truck. Isn’t there some sort of labor law against this. The instructor has threatened to disqualify her if she doesn’t get her hours of driving in. What do I do huh? thanks.

  8. Brian Weatherley 2 November 2007 at 10:07 pm #


    I’m Brian Weatherley, editor-in-chief of Truck & Driver magazine. We live just down the Hall from Natalie and Personnel Today and she passed on your question to me.

    My first reaction was to say ‘go and work for a operator who has air con in all their trucks..!’ However, you obviously want advice of a little less emotional nature so I passed you question on to a couple of good friend in the States who work in the US trucking press.

    Steve Sturgess who is editor of RoadStar magazine and Executive Editor, Heavy Duty Trucking, in the US.

    Steve’s first response was this: “As far as I’m aware, there is no requirement by the OHSA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration within the US Dept of labour) that air conditioning be provided in any workplace, least of all the cab of a truck. I believe, though, it is part of the Teamsters contracts that truck cabs are air conditioned.”

    He then added: “I just went to the OHSA website and searched on Air Conditioning, and High Temperature in the Workplace and found this link:

    As far as I can tell, this 1195 document is the only reference to hot working environments and it is only a series of recommended practices and advice. There appears no regulation about what is too hot an environment and there is nowhere, as far as I can see, any regulation requiring fans or air conditioning in any workplace. So there you have it.”

    I also asked Paul Richards, editor of Commercial Carrier Journal magazine in the States and he reckoned: “As far as I know, there are no requirements to provide A/C in workplaces or trucks.”

    So the bottom line appears to be that US truck operators are not required by law to fit air-con, but unionised fleets and companies keen to retain drivers through best conditions of employment probably do put aircon in their trucks. So maybe the answer is for you both to shop around and try and get a job with such a fleet if you can.

  9. Dave 21 May 2009 at 11:23 am #

    We used to have argueaments in our office all the time in regards to the air conditioning in the office. Then people would always stand up and play the politician. It wasn’t a pleasant situation.

  10. Rocardo 8 July 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    You cannot beat a bit of fresh air, but the office should be regulated so keep everyone comfortable but we also need to be aware of our energy usage. Window controls allow natural air to pass around the office which is proven to help office comfort. We are lucky we do not have heatwaves like abroad!

  11. Bob 17 July 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    We have airconditioning. It is colder than my fridge. You wait all year for a lovely sunny day, then the office insists on installing airconditioning, so instead of being grateful for a lovely sunny day where you could open a window, you end up sitting in a draught, freezing, wearing a t shirt, a long sleeved shirt , a fleece , a hat and a scarf. Is this healthy? Why do companies insist on installing air conditioning. My productivity has dropped, all I can think about now is how to get away from the cold draught on the back of my neck. When we had no air con. And just the windows open is was heaven.

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