Coronavirus (COVID-19): ventilation in the workplace
Guidance for employers on improving ventilation and the the supply of fresh air into the workplace.
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Assessing ventilation requirements
Where your building (or parts of it) are poorly ventilated, you can take steps to improve ventilation in those areas to reduce the risk of airborne transmission.
There are some simple ways to identify poorly ventilated areas:
- look for areas where there is no mechanical ventilation or natural ventilation available
- check that mechanical systems provide outdoor air, temperature control or both. If a system (eg. a local air conditioner) is recirculating only and doesn’t have an outdoor air supply, or a separate source of outdoor air, the area is likely to be poorly ventilated
- identify areas that feel stuffy or that smell unpleasant
- use nondispersive infrared sensor (NDIR) carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify the CO2 levels to help assess if ventilation is poor. These monitors measure carbon dioxide concentration in a given area. The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance on the use of CO2 monitors
If you work in an environment with a complex ventilation system, for example supplying multiple floors and rooms, such as found in old buildings, there is more guidance from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). The proposed solutions may be specific to each building and situation depending on the number of people, how long they spend there, what they are doing, and the type of ventilation within the building.
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