Returning to the Workplace: Ventilation Advice
Due to emergence of the Omicrom variant, the new year brought with it some now familiar guidance: the government asked workers to avoid the office and to work from home where possible. In anticipation of returning to the office in early 2022, the Health and Safety Executive (the HSE) and the Scottish Government have issued guidance emphasising the importance of good ventilation and the role that plays,alongside other measures, in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please see the HSE guidance and the Scottish Government guidance for more details.
What is meant by ventilation in the workplace?
It is a legal obligation that employers ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of the workplace.
Why is good ventilation in the workplace important?
The risk of COVID-19 transmission can arise from droplet transmission (when people are in close contact with a person with the virus), contact transmission (when people touch surfaces with the virus) and from aerosol transmission (when people breathe in small particles in the air after a person infected with the virus has been in that same area).
Assessing the risk of transmission
The first step to identifying the level of ventilation required throughout the workplace is to carry out a risk assessment.
Practical points on workplace ventilation
There are some simple ways to address the issue of ventilation in the workplace:
Ventilation in the workplace is becoming more and more of a priority in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (in addition to all of the other sensible measures that should be adopted to help reduce the risk of transmission). The Scottish Government recently made available an extra £5 million for ventilation in Scottish schools. That is in addition to a previous announcement that local authorities would receive £10 million to invest in CO2 monitors. To ensure compliance with Scottish Government and HSE guidance and to minimise the risk of transmission, address any ventilation issues in your workplace today.