Legal requirements, specialist support and advice
Compliance with health and safety, fire regulations and building regulations
It is important that while following this guidance, your building continues to comply with existing health and safety, fire safety and building regulations.
Achieving optimum airflow by opening windows or doors must not contravene duties in the above regulations and put staff or customers at increased risk.
Equally, with increased ventilation, thermal comfort of building users must also be considered, and advice should be sought on the appropriate ambient temperatures for different environments. This includes a legal requirement to maintain a reasonable temperature in the workplace.
Links to relevant regulations and guidance can be found at:
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974
- The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006
- Building standards technical handbook 2019: non-domestic
Specialist support and advice
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 COVID-19 risk matrix for employers.
There is also sector specific guidance available for ventilation in schools that can apply equally to many offices and workplaces.
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), in recognising the challenges the cold season brings for building managers trying to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, have developed COVID-19 guidance on ventilation, including the optimum use of HVAC strategies for buildings.
CIBSE have also provided detailed COVID-19 guidance on ventilation, underpinned by expert advice, on working safely while living alongside Covid. This guidance is updated frequently as new evidence emerges on the transmission of coronavirus and should be regularly reviewed to support the safe conducting of business.
HSE have produced useful examples of practical steps that can be taken to improve ventilation in different types of workplace settings.
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