Coronavirus: Employer’s resource centre — live guidance available here

Ventilation and air conditioning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Health & Safety

There have been numerous questions asked about ventilation, especially as we approach the colder, windier, winter weather.

HSE have now updated their guidance and the full version can be found in the link here.

According to HSE, good ventilation reduces the concentration of the virus in the air and therefore reduces the risks from airborne transmission. This happens when people breathe in small particles (aerosols) in the air after someone with the virus has occupied an enclosed area.

However, ventilation will have little or no impact on droplet or contact transmission routes.

So, do we need to keep all the windows and doors wide open to achieve this?  Well, apparently not.

Lower temperatures and likely windy weather conditions in the winter months will increase the natural ventilation through openings. This means you don’t need to open windows and doors as wide, so partially opening them can still provide adequate ventilation while maintaining a comfortable workplace temperature. Opening higher-level windows is likely to generate fewer draughts.

Airing rooms as frequently as you can, will help improve ventilation. This involves opening all doors and windows wide to maximise the ventilation in the room. It may be easier to do this when the room is unoccupied or between uses.

If the area is still cold you could relax dress codes so people can wear extra layers and warmer clothing.

Fan convector heaters can be used provided the area is well ventilated, but they should not be used in poorly ventilated areas.

As a reminder on fire safety, fire doors should not be propped open.

LAW clients can seek coronavirus guidance from the Health & Safety At Work team throughout.

© Copyright of Law At Work 2021 Law At Work is part of Marlowe plc’s employee relations division