A clothing store in Carlisle has been fined after concerns from staff about freezing working conditions led to an investigation and a serious of warnings from HSE officials.

Authorities where alerted about the freezing working conditions via an anonymous phone call made to the officials in the month of January. The complaint was investigated by a local health and safety inspector Russell Green. On inspection, Mr Green noticed that the temperature inside the store was 7.6 degrees, way below the legal minimum temperature of 16 degrees because the store kept its doors open during working hours.

He also observed that the heating system was not working properly and needed repair. As a result an improvement notice under Section 21 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 was served to the store for repairing the heating system and making necessary arrangements for keeping the store warm.

According to HSE regulations the legal minimum temperature is 16 degrees and temperatures during working hours should be at a reasonable level in all areas of the store

After two consequent visits in February and March, Mr Green observed that at least one area of the store was still below 16 degrees and that the company failed to comply with the improvement notice and where summoned to court.

During court proceedings, Clare Liddle from the Carlisle City Council said that the temperature in the store, Internacionale was cold during working hours and not favourable for its staff. The company pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined with £2,000 plus costs for failing to keep its staff members warm during trading hours and failing to comply with the improvement notice served to them.

Anna Hart, for Internacionale defended the company by saying that all health and safety regulations were taken seriously. However, it is the company’s policy to keep doors open in all seasons including winter with the intention of encouraging customers to come inside the store. She said that the company felt that the heating system was not worth repairing because their lease for the premises was expiring.

The magistrate after passing the sentence stated that the company kept its monetary considerations ahead and did not feel the need to spend money on keeping its staff warm.