The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), working together with HSE Occupational Hygienists, has developed a tool for assessing general ventilation and COVID-19 transmission. Good ventilation (providing fresh air) can help limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially in enclosed spaces. The ventilation tool supports employers, building users and building owners by using a simple scoring system to indicate the effect their ventilation arrangements are likely to have on reducing COVID-19 transmission. It also provides recommendations for taking action, where appropriate.
It is stressed that the most effective measure against the spread of Coronavirus and its variants is social distancing. However, while social distancing measures are being relaxed in public places, good ventilation remains a very powerful tool to limit the risk of Coronavirus spreading amongst your workforces. Good ventilation is also really important to dilute any contaminants in the air and provide clean air to protect the health of the people in the space, according to BoHS.
This tool aims to give some guidance to employers, building users and building owners about whether their ventilation is going to have any effect on reducing Coronavirus transmission.
However, those with any doubts are advised to refer to a ventilation specialist, or an occupational hygienist to assess the risk in the workplace.
What does the tool do?
The tool enables the user to put in basic information about a workspace, the number of people who use it and the types of ventilation in place. It uses a very basic scoring system to provide an indication as to whether the ventilation is likely to have no effect, some effect, or a strong effect on reducing the risk of Coronavirus transmission.
It works for spaces that people spend time in (not stairwells and corridors where people are in for short periods) and where the building meets current building regulations requirements in terms of ventilation. This should give an idea on whether the ventilation can be used to have an impact on reducing Coronavirus transmission.
The tool does not:
Assess all forms/methods of ventilation of a room, it only provides an indication of ventilation performance for the most common methods of ventilation. There are lots of other things that can affect ventilation effectiveness (look at the BOHS ventilation FAQs for further guidance).
Cover the other Coronavirus transmission routes. Ventilation alone won’t prevent transmission. You still need to think about other control measures in COVID-19 risk assessment (Look at the BOHS control risk matrix for further help).
Address complex spaces with walls, partitions, or a whole building. It looks at one space at a time.
Find more information and to access the tool, click here.
BoHS/Breathe Freely October 2021