As workplaces are beginning to open their doors to employees again, there has been a lot of speculation about the safety of the air conditioning units in commercial premises and the risk of them spreading the Covid-19 virus through the air.
The HSE has now stated that the risk of air conditioning spreading Covid-19 in the workplace is extremely low. However they have released guidance on how to make the ventilation within work premises as safe as possible.
Sheila Jones, Director of C&C Risk Management Services shares and explains the advice given from the HSE;
“If you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply.
“You do not need to adjust air conditioning systems that mix some of the extracted air with fresh air and return it to the room as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate. Also you do not need to adjust systems in individual rooms or portable units as these operate on 100% recirculation.
“Employers have always by law needed to ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace and this has not changed.
“It has been stated that good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems, so where possible you need to consider ways to increase the supply of fresh air and if you can improve the circulation of outside air and prevent pockets of stagnant air in occupied spaces. You can do this by using ceiling fans, desk fans or opening windows, for example.”