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Online tool offers ventilation check to prevent covid-19 spread

Image: Dzmitry Zelianeuski/Dreamstime.com

A free online tool to check the effectiveness of the ventilation in indoor spaces in limiting the spread of covid-19 has been developed by safety partners.

Scientific charity the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection have worked with the Health and Safety Executive to develop the tool. 

Ventilation in buildings can be complex, and the tool is designed for non-experts to provide guidance and an indication of effectiveness – although it is not intended to replace specialists in ventilation or occupational hygienists assessing workplace risks.

BOHS describes the tool as a “starting point” to see whether what’s in place is adequate. The tool asks a range of questions covering the size of the workspace, the number of people using it and how often they have to come closer than 2m to one another, whether there are windows and window trickle/wall vents, and what sort of ventilation, eg mechanical, is in use. 

The answers are then used to generate an indication as to how good the ventilation is, and whether further action is likely to be needed. Development of the tool also follows guidance already published by BOHS on how to use CO2 monitoring equipment, which is used to measure ventilation. 

HSE’s chief scientific officer Andrew Curran said this was a “practical tool” that will help “inform decisions” about workplace ventilation.

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.”

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