Improving Natural Ventilation in the Workplace

The law states that there must be an adequate supply of fresh air enclosed in workplace areas, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to Identify poorly ventilated areas to find out where there is no mechanical or natural ventilation such as doors, windows or vents.

Throughout your building where employers will be working, vents, windows and doors must be left open where possible (please note fire doors cannot be propped open). If they cannot be opened, the ventilation in that area will be affected. They should also be left open prior to the room being occupied to maximise natural air flow before use.

If you identify an area that requires improvement, you should decide through your risk assessment if this area should continue to be used or if an alternative space can be used. Issues to consider include the following:

  • How much time to people spend in the area? The longer an area is occupied, the greater the risk.
  • How large is the area? The larger the area is, the lower the risk.
  • What task or activities are taking place in the area? Physical exertion or shouting will increase generation of aerosols and increase the risk of transmission.
  • Are there any features affecting ventilation? Large machines or equipment blocking ventilation if decrease the airflow.

Although using mechanical ventilation may be your only option and does in fact bring fresh air into the area from outside, the air will be recirculated so in order to create maximum efficiency and impact, use the system predominantly before and after people are working in these areas rather than during.

All information stated above is provided directly from the HSE website.

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