Respiratory infections including 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 or respiratory infections including COVID-19.

  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 (e.g. 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 indicate the CO2 levels to help identify areas which may have poor ventilation. 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) on COVID-19 and ventilation. 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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