Workplace ventilation and air conditioning in the context of Covid-19

An employer’s guide to ventilation and air conditioning in the workplace designed to ensure your staff and visitors remain safe during the pandemic.

Creating a safe workplace environment for employees and visitors is of paramount importance to any business owner. In particular, the use of mechanical ventilation and air conditioning systems during coronavirus (Covid-19). In this article, we share some valuable guidance on how to improve air quality and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus within your factory or office.

Ventilation and air conditioning: how to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19?

Mechanical ventilation and HVAC systems

Mechanical ventilation, such as air conditioning and heating or HVAC units are essential in bringing fresh air into a building.

To reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus while using these types of systems, you should:

  • Set your mechanical ventilation to maximise fresh air and minimise the recirculation of air.
  • Try to extend the HVAC system operating times before and after people use the work areas.
  • Maintain mechanical systems, as per the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure they’re running at an optimum level.

One of the biggest fears with ventilation and air conditioning in the context of Covid-19 is the recirculation of air. The good news is that mechanical systems supplying single rooms with higher rates of fresh air can be operated.

However, if you use a centralised ventilation system that circulates air between different rooms, we highly recommend you turn off recirculation and revert to a supply of fresh air.

As for heating and cooling recirculation units that don’t draw in a supply of fresh air, you can continue to use them providing you leave the windows and doors open.

Although it’s worth noting that recirculation units often conceal bad ventilation, as they just focus on making an area more comfortable to work in.

Desk and ceiling fans

To minimise the spread of coronavirus, we only recommend using desk and ceiling fans if the building or room is well ventilated. If you’re not sure whether your ventilation space is adequate or not, you should look for areas where there is no mechanical or natural ventilation – including windows and vents.

It’s also worth using carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify the CO2 levels to decide if the ventilation is up to scratch or not. Or for a slightly easier solution, identify areas that smell bad or feel stuffy.

UVC air sterilisers

If you’re looking for a solution to your ventilation and air conditioning needs during Covid-19, a UVC air steriliser/filtration unit is an ideal investment. Recognised by the HSE as the best form of protection against airborne transmission, this innovative technology utilises ultraviolet (UVC) to sterilise ambient air – killing bacteria, mould, yeast and viruses (including Covid-19).

A highly efficient UVC-based device, such as the Sterilair Pro UVC air steriliser, is the perfect solution and is particularly effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus in poorly ventilated areas.

Further resources and current guidance

For more information on the latest guidance on ventilation and air conditioning in office environments/workspaces, take a look at HSE’s Ventilation & Air Conditioning guide.

Or if you want to learn more about the benefits of the Sterilair Pro UVC air steriliser against airborne transmission (such as Covid-19), read our previous blog, latest our article in Open Government Access (Pages 68-69) or get in touch with our team today.

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