Created on: 14 Jul 2023
Working in unsatisfactory thermal conditions without adequate supplies of fresh air can pose problems.
Unsatisfactory building design and heating systems may mean workplaces are too hot in summer or too cold in winter. Regulation 6 of the Workplace Regs states that in enclosed workplaces, employers must provide "effective and suitable" ventilation to supply a "sufficient quantity" of fresh or purified air.
The ACoP says that ventilation systems should not cause uncomfortable draughts. Air inlets should not be situated near contaminated air, for example from vehicle exhausts or flues. Recycled air systems should be filtered and mixed with fresh air.
Workplaces where hazardous substances are used will need a higher standard of ventilation. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations and the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations include more specific requirements.
Work in “confined spaces” such as sewers, tanks or pits also need special precautions, the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 apply in these situations.
Fresh air standards are given in HSE Guidance and recommends that the quantity of fresh air supplied should never fall below 5 litres per second per person.
The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) suggests fresh air supply rates of 36 litres per second per person for heavily contaminated workplaces.