Last reviewed 12 February 2021

With many businesses working to ensure that their premises are Covid-secure, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued advice on systems used to disinfect premises during the pandemic.

It explains the legal requirements and provides the latest advice from public health bodies on risks to health that can be created by using walk-through spraying or misting systems.

Available at GOV.UK, this stresses that spraying people with disinfectants is not recommended under any circumstances (including in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber).

The HSE points out that the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that such systems could be harmful and do not reduce the spread of the virus. This is because transmission is usually through droplets or contact, so the effectiveness of these systems is likely to be minimal.

Furthermore, disinfectants used in this way are potentially harmful and can cause health effects including respiratory and eye irritation.

The advice note suggests that fog, mist, vapour or UV (ultraviolet) treatments may be suitable options to help control the spread of coronavirus, by cleaning and disinfecting a larger space or room.

However, it warns, people should not enter rooms being treated by UV or disinfectants applied as fog, mist or vapour.

Any equipment used to deliver the disinfectant by these means must comply with the relevant UK law: the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. See the HSE publication Supplying New Machinery.