Civil servants told not to take electric fans to work

Whitehall officials told air coolers could have 'potential impact on electrical supplies' and present a 'risk to electric shock'

Britain’s civil servants have been banned from taking electric fans  to work – but told they can stay  at home instead if their office  environment is too oppressive in the summer heat.

In rather extraordinary guidance, which has been passed to The Independent, Whitehall officials have been told that they are “NOT authorised” to bring fans or air coolers to work “due to the potential impact it could have on electrical supplies and the risk of electric shock from items not subjected to a portable appliance test”.

Government fans would be issued to members of staff, the memo added, only if temperatures reached “30C or higher”.

But in a move that may raise the hackles of other workers sweltering  in the heat, it was suggested  that they could avoid travelling  to the office altogether and work  from home.

“Subject to business needs, all  staff should consider alternative  working patterns, working from home or from a cooler location,” officials were told.

The guidance came in a  wonderfully bureaucratic email  from Whitehall’s Internal Communications unit. Entitled  “general advice on keeping cool”, it began by addressing officials who are working in the famous Treasury office by Whitehall.

“Staff based in 1 Horse Guards  Road should comply with the  natural ventilation policy that  applies in that building,” it said.

“They may also wish to try and find  a cooler area in the building to  work in. If you believe that your  work area is excessively hot then you need to inform the Facilities Management to log a call and get a reference number.

“When they respond to the call they should provide a temperature reading, as that is the only way that we can formally record temperatures. If temperatures that have been recorded by the Helpdesk are 30C or higher, fans will be issued.”

The guidance then continued with a reference to other government  departments in Whitehall with some equally onerous instructions.

“If staff based elsewhere believe that their work area is excessively hot then they need to inform the Facilities Management Helpdesk that applies for that building to log a call and get a reference number,” it stated.

“When the call is responded to,  they should provide a temperature reading. Wherever possible, and  subject to availability, portable air cooling units or fans will be provided as long as doing so does not exceed  the maximum safe electric loading for the area.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory