HSE reminds businesses of good ventilation in reducing Covid-19 risks

17 September 2021

As more people return to the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive is urging businesses to ensure good ventilation in their workplaces to minimise the risk of coronavirus.

When someone with Covid-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus. These particles can be breathed in by another person. As the main way of spreading Covid-19 is through close contact with an infected person, by opening windows, doors and vents, and/or using mechanical ventilation with fans and ducts, the concentration of particles in the air is diluted and the risk can be reduced.

The HSE’s updated guidance looks at how to identify poorly ventilated areas, the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors, how to improve natural and mechanical ventilation, balancing ventilation with keeping warm and ventilation in vehicles.

Employers need to reassess their workplace risk assessments to take into account risks from Covid-19 and consider how premises are ventilated and fresh air is brought into the building, along with other control measures, including cleaning, hygiene and handwashing.

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers must ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of the workplace.