Space Heater Memo | January 2024 | OPWDD & Aspire of WNY

January 11th, 2024
2:38 PM
Good afternoon! 
All of us like to be warm during the cold weather, and for some of us, we bring in a space heater or use one provided by Aspire to keep our workspace warm. 
OPWDD issued guidance on the use of space heaters which identifies parameters for when a space heater may be used, as well as the type of space heater that is allowed in OPWDD programs. Please note that this guidance applies to all Aspire properties where programs operate, whether certified or not. 
Space heaters are prohibited except under emergency conditions. Emergency conditions are defined as: 
  • Extremely cold temperatures that render the heating system incapable of maintaining required temperatures; or,
  • Failure of the primary heating system; or, 
  • Doctor’s orders mandating temperature to exceed 68 degrees, when heating system is incapable of maintaining recommended temperature. 
The only portable space heaters approved in OPWDD programs are oil filled or infrared. There are several other requirements such as UL approved, tip-over protection, place on a flat surface, visibly checked once an hour while in use, and more. 
Aspire’s Safety Committee is in the process of creating a policy regarding the use of space heaters which will include more information on the process of requesting and using a space heater. Until that policy is published, please notify your supervisor and E&S if your workspace heating unit is malfunctioning. You will be provided guidance at that time on what to do. 
Effective immediately, please turn off any space heaters in use that have not been approved. If the space heater is your personal property, please take it home. Members of the E&S team will begin collecting Agency owned space heaters which will be stored and then distributed in approved emergency conditions.  
Let me know if you have any questions. 

Bob Pettit (he, him, his) 
Executive Vice President of Risk Management
P: (716) 505.5672
7 Community Drive
Cheektowaga, NY 14225