The British Occupational Hygiene Society, a scientific charity and the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection has developed in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive a free, online Ventilation Tool to help limit the transmission of Covid-19 in workplaces.
As the government is advising businesses to use CO2 monitoring equipment to check whether indoor spaces are sufficiently ventilated and the Welsh government announces millions of pounds of funding for CO2 monitors, the Society, following the publication of its Guidance on ventilation, took a step further and worked with the HSE to create a simple Ventilation Tool to support workplaces and help reduce exposure of workers to Covid-19.
With winter coming and businesses contemplating the challenges of Covid-19 and colder weather, good ventilation is key to limit the risk of coronavirus amongst workers and provide clean air especially in enclosed spaces. As ventilation in buildings can be complex, BOHS and HSE decided to develop this non-technical ventilation check tool to provide guidance and an indication of the effectiveness of the ventilation system used on reducing coronavirus transmission. The tool can be used by employers, building users, and building owners and does not aim to replace ventilation specialists or occupational hygienists assessing risks in a workplace, especially when it comes to more complex ventilation needs.
CO2 monitoring is also very important, as an increase in CO2 concentration in any area could be indicative of poor ventilation that needs improving. BOHS CO2 Monitoring guidance aims to provide basic information on why monitoring CO2 levels can help control the spread of coronavirus, when it does work well, what is a safe CO2 level and how to do the monitoring.
Andrew Curran, HSE’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented: “’I’m really pleased to see the development of this practical tool which will help to inform decisions about ventilation in work spaces.’
BOHS CEO, Professor Kevin Bampton said: “Covid-19 has highlighted the central importance of air quality in protecting workers from illness. We hope that these tools will enable people better understand their working environment and the role ventilation plays in saving lives and preventing ill-health”
Guidance on ventilation and CO2 monitoring can be found on BOHS COVID-19 hub, alongside guidance on managing Covid risk in different sectors and other health risks, such as legionella, as the economy re-opens.