After the WHO identified enclosed spaces with poor ventilation as a potential Coronavirus transmission point it has been reported by several media outlets that offices, factories and places of work should not use air conditioning during Coronavirus. However, this is not strictly true and many work places will be able to continue to use their air conditioning systems safely.
Fresh air and ventilation
Ensuring a good supply of fresh air and keeping rooms well ventilated is a mitigating factor for potential virus spread in workplaces. Good ventilation and a fresh air supply will appear in almost all workplace Covid secure risk assessments. The potential issue air conditioning poses to this is where air is extracted and then recirculated throughout the workplace or across different rooms. This is typically a feature of centralised ventilation systems.
Centralised ventilation systems
In their guidance, the HSE have advised that air re-circulation systems are turned off and a fresh air supply utilised. Some air conditioning systems use a mix of extracted air and a fresh air supply and the advice is these are safe to continue to use as they are.
What about the use of fans?
The risk of virus transmission via desk or floor fans is considered to be low providing the room is well ventilated with a good supply of fresh air. Fans may offer a good alternative on hot days for premises which currently have an air re-circulation system installed.
The take away?
Providing your system is using at least a mix of some fresh air you should be safe to continue to use your air conditioning during Coronavirus. That said, good ventilation and fresh air are key components to keeping workplaces safe and Covid secure.
Covid health and safety advice
As health and safety experts we can advise on all areas of safety management during Coronavirus from risk assessments to health and safety audits to face fit testing. Get in touch for a free, no obligation consultation.