The gold standard for fresh air hasn’t changed since our grandparents’ days: it’s still good, natural ventilation from doors and windows. Where total reliance on natural ventilation is not practicable then, so long as your existing mechanical systems are properly maintained and managed, they are likely to suffice.
Nevertheless, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with ‘advice’ and offers of expensive new ventilators and disinfection services for rooms and furniture, but don’t be bounced into spending before making a thorough assessment of the risks and likely effectiveness your premises and occupants. Enhanced housekeeping and cleaning of surfaces like desks and handrails is often the better solution.
That all workplaces need an adequate supply of fresh air has long been a fundamental principle of workplace safety , whether it comes naturally, mechanically or via a combination of both. How an area is ventilated is a key factor of your risk assessment as you progressively re-open your premises.
Looking specifically at your mechanical ventilation infrastructure, it goes without saying that you should ensure that your ducts are clean, fans are working efficiently and as a matter of course, that any fire damper separation is effective. You should have an audit of cleaning, inspection and remedial work.
You will also need now, post-pandemic, to pay special attention to identifying poorly ventilated areas where, perhaps, these is no natural ventilation or the mechanical ventilation is simply recirculating and not bringing in fresh outdoor air. The Health and Safety Executive provides guidance on identifying such risks and how to manage them, bearing in mind the need to maintain comfortable levels of warmth.
In short, are you fully compliant with best practice and government guidelines? The stakes of getting it wrong have always been high, but in this post-pandemic world the pressure is really on for estates managers to get it right. Airmec provides a full range of air consultancy, inspection and remediation services.
Can we help? Email Mark Rowe or call him on 07736 385994 for an initial, informal assessment of your current position.
Posted: 19 04 21