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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Mechanical ventilation

Different methods of ventilation, including natural and mechanical ventilation, may be used alongside one another in order to improve the supply of fresh air into your building.

Where mechanical ventilation systems are operated, as set out in CIBSE guidance on COVID-19 and ventilation, it is recommended that ventilation systems are set to run on full fresh air as far as possible.

Mechanical systems require energy input to run. Ventilation should be balanced against other factors, including thermal comfort, carbon footprint and energy costs.

Practical steps to improve mechanical ventilation

Optimal approaches for mechanical ventilation systems will vary depending on the nature of the system in operation, however it may be useful to consider the following as part of a wider discussion with engineers, who are experts in utilising such systems:

  • understand where you may have poorly ventilated spaces or areas - increase the ventilation rate as much as reasonably possible; this may require changes to CO2 set points (for both mechanical ventilation and automated windows)
  • avoid recirculation/transfer of air between rooms unless this is the only way to provide air to occupied rooms
  • recirculation of air within a single room where this is complemented by an outside air supply is acceptable as this helps to provide more outside air to occupants, and can help to maintain thermal comfort
  • consider whether the use of air cleaning and purifying devices devices is appropriate for your setting






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