British Lung Foundation
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Cold workplace affects my asthma

I work in a supermarket on checkouts and the chillers are by the tills. I find the cold atmosphere affects my chest. The store is very cold everywhere.

On times I have helped out on the fresh department when they are short on staff such as annual leave, it does not affect me as much as I am moving about.

I only carry my inhaler with me when I am working.

I should not be working like this. What am I going to be like in the winter? The store gets even colder.

Spoken to management and it falls on deaf ears. Probably they are sick n tired of colleagues moaning.

We do have heating engineers out but they don't seem to do anything to improve the temperature, but the hot water is very hot.

I feel that nothing will be done until someone becomes ill and doctors etc blame the cold.

7 Replies

Hi looky5, if they are not listening u can always get a doctors note explaining ur problem. These days managers don't seem to bother as u are so easily replaced, unless u have worked there a long time ( not always ) there is no loyalty to staff. Keep trying or speak to ur HR department they should be able to help. X Sonia x


Hi Looky. Sonia is right, talk to HR not managers. HR know more about the rules and what is reasonable. But do try to get backing from your doctor. Meanwhile I do find a scarf a great help, even a small one tucked into my clothes.

1 like

Odds on you work in Sainsbury's? All their stores are cold, even worse in the winter. I stuck it for 3 years, but gave up after they had a new extension, which made it even colder. All staff and managers agree that it's the coldest of all the supermarkets, how silly is that?


Do try and get a letter from your GP. I am sorry they aren't listening to you. I hate to sound negative, but do try and get a job where it isn't so cold. I rent an 18th century house with draughts everywhere and used the coldest bedroom because I didn't want anyone else to feel so cold (I know, I am stupid) Wish I hadn't done that for so long though- brought on lots and lots of infections......try to get out of that cold environment, as it does you no good at all!!! Take care :)


I found it impossible to go to the freezer department to buy my meat there. I just cannot stand it. Put a beanie hat on, but it won't protect your nose, mouth and throat! Follow Sonia's advice. There must be some health rules for workers in these conditions.

Here is a UK government recommendation. Perhaps you can act with that in mind.


I also work in a dept store and they turn off the air conditioner overnights the air was so humid it caused a major flare up for my copd I was put on prednisone 50mg for5days same problem they don't care I am scared for winter it gets cold also I feel for you keep on management maybe supply a doctors note maybe then they will do something good luck .


Oh you poor thing I have not been able to shop myself for the simple reason it is so cold in the supermarkets especially by the freezer compartments, I cannot breath (I have COPD) and even with use of ambulatory oxygen still find it a struggle, my poor husband has to run around getting what I want from that area. Someone has mentioned Sainsbury's but I have found their stores are not so bad as Morrisons!

Who cares you may say, but my advice is ask GP for a letter outlining the fact the extreme cold exacerbates your asthma so therefore is a hazard to your health and welfare as an employee, take this to your HR dept and by law this will have to be addressed in some way to resolve the problemxxx Good luck


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