Most Temporary Structure Hirers use portable heaters to heat their temporary structures in the winter.  The majority operate their businesses from unheated warehouses or farm buildings, and in the winter, there could be a temptation to use a spare portable heater from the hire stock to heat the premises.   

However please be aware that, unless agreed in writing, our property Insurers do not allow the use of portable heaters to be used in a building due to the fire risks. Therefore, please refer to us if you need to use a portable heater to heat a building, and unless agreed please ensure employees know that it is not allowed and could compromise your insurance.

The main concern is numerous fires have been caused by portable heaters being used in an uncontrolled way on an ad hoc basis.

Types of portable heaters can include :

Cabinet heaters: A form of LPG fuelled space heater where a cylinder of gas is located inside a metal cabinet

Patio heaters: An LPG fuelled heater where the gas cylinder is kept at the base of a ‘mushroom’ shaped reflector top reflecting heat down to nearby people

Tank top heaters: Gas fuelled heaters in which radiant panels are fixed directly on top for the gas cylinder.

Halogen Heaters: Torpedo’ type space heaters: Fan-assisted space heaters where a flame from a liquid or gas fuel is fanned to intensify the heat to distribute it over a large area

There are many risks associated with portable heaters, some of which are listed below:
  1. The heater is placed too close to combustible materials such as PVC canvases, paper, clothing or used in a wood working area
  2. The heater is placed on top of or too close to other appliances
  3. Inadequate ventilation could result in carbon monoxide poisoning
  4. Heaters are inadvertently left running overnight
  5. Lack of staff training on how to use the heaters safely and correctly
  6. Heaters being moved while in use
  7. There is a risk of tripping or falling into the heater if positioned inappropriately
  8. Heaters are not used or re-fuelled in accordance with manufacturers guidelines
  9. Heaters could be struck by passing vehicles or forklifts
  10. Heater is sited on uneven ground
  11. Halogen heater is attached to an extension lead that can easily be overloaded



Ducting heat into your storage premises where the portable heater is kept outside is a better way to keep your employees warm over the winter in a safe and efficient way – but remember this still needs to be approved by your insurer.

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