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The provision of fresh air into indoor environments will help to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. Further to this, employers must, by law, ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace.
There are a number of ways to improve the supply of fresh air in your premises to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. Organisations should take account of the measures that are most appropriate for their specific setting. Organisations may wish to consider:
let fresh, clean air into your building – open windows, doors (excluding fire doors), and vents when you can. This will help to reduce any infected particles and reduce the risk of infection
understand your building’s ventilation system – do not adjust mechanical settings without expert advice. It is important to make sure that ventilation systems and/or extractor fans are used correctly
avoid relying upon ventilation systems which only recycle used air. Make sure that fresh air is introduced to all spaces
regularly monitoring the air quality within enclosed environments – you may wish to use Non Dispersive Infra-Red (NDIR) carbon dioxide monitors to identify the carbon dioxide levels to help decide if ventilation is poor. The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance on the use of CO2 monitors
be aware of the relevant occupancy level – more people together means more ventilation is required
air out rooms between users or regularly throughout the day
if ventilation makes it feel cold– consider relaxing uniform requirements, so employees can continue to work comfortably
to aid occupant comfort, consider rearranging room layout so that workstations are in the ventilated space but out of the direct line or any draughts created
use indoor fans in combination with open doors or windows to further increase air movement
in some circumstances, the use of air cleaning devices may be beneficial in improving air quality. Further information on these devices can be found in our air cleaning technologies guide
Appropriate risk assessments should be carried out for each specific indoor environment. Employers can access general advice and guidance on risk assessment, prepared by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In support of this, The British Occupational Hygiene Society created a risk matrix for employers.
Updated Fair Work due to closure of Self-Isolation Support Grant.
Covid signage scheme content amended to reflect Stay Well This Winter signage.
Self-isolation Support Grant closing date information added.
Ventilation section updated to link to new guidance.
Vaccination and testing page updated to reflect latest position.
Updated Signage scheme.
Updated More information and business support.
Updates to Vaccination and testing.
Updates to Hybrid working.
Covid Signage Scheme information added.
Changes to Fair Work in light of Highest Risk List ending.
Minor text updates to Risk Assessment and Fair Work.
Text re highest risk list added to Fair Work section.
Minor updates to Overview, Risk assessment, Hybrid working and Fair Work.
Minor textual changes to all sections except ventilation and hybrid working to reflect latest advice. Risk assessment document updated. Unpublished manufacturing sector checklist.
Guide restructured and renamed to take account of latest guidance. Was previously "safer businesses and workplaces". Includes new sections on ventilation and fair work.
Updated Laboratories and research facilities: operational checklist.
Face coverings information updated.
Face coverings content changed to include hospitality information and other minor changes made. Added PDF of Public health risk assessment tool for businesses - March 21 2020
Updated following sections to reflect latest position: overview, face coverings, risk assessment, hybrid working, vaccination and testing, more information. Added new section on managing transmission risk. Other sections archived.
Updated Employer and employee responsibilities, Precautionary measures, Sector-specific measures, Hybrid working, Test and Protect and self-isolation and Risk assessment.
Following sections updated to reflect latest position: Overview, Employer responsibilities, Precautionary measures, sector-specific measures, enforcement and related information.travel and transport, hybrid working, Test and Protect,
Changes to Overview, Employer and employee responsibilities, Precautionary measures, Sector-specific measures, Hybrid working, Test and Protect: self-isolation, Vaccination and workplace testing and Travel and transport. Removed Where we are now.