With winter approaching, getting the balance right between ventilating your premises and ensuring that temperature levels are comfortable for your team, clients and customers etc can be extremely challenging. Below is some information that we have put together in conjunction with the advice on the HSE’s website on how to improve / maintain good ventilation in workplaces. Although this isn’t specific to any one type of premises is does provide very useful information, a lot of which may have already been but in place within your premises.
The latest guidance on the use of CO2 monitors will be less effective in relatively large open spaces (such as community halls, churches etc) that do not have large numbers of people within them. CO2 monitors are more likely to be effective in congested areas, such as a busy office, school classroom, or a public house full of people for large periods of time.
Improving Natural Ventilation
In all the premises we have visited the below advice overall has been implemented accordingly:
- Fully or partly opening windows, air vents and doors. If the venue is being used for more physical activities such as exercise classes, theatrical performances, or singing then consider having doors and windows fully open as these types of activities (physical exertion, shouting and singing) can heighten risk through increased generation of aerosols;
- Cooler, windier weather increases natural ventilation through openings. This means you don’t need to open windows and doors so wide; and
- Airing rooms as frequently as you can improve ventilation. Fully open all the doors and windows maximises ventilation in a room. It may be better to do this when the room is unoccupied, for example in-between classes, meetings etc. Anybody who hires your venues should be encouraged to do this prior to their classes, meeting starting.
Further reading here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/
Balancing Ventilation & Comfortable Temperatures
This will clearly become more difficult in the winter but partially open windows and doors can still provide acceptable ventilation while keeping your premises comfortable. Opening higher-level windows will probably create fewer draughts. By putting the heating on at a reasonable level you will hopefully be able to create a comfortable and safe environment for your customers / clients etc. If you do bring in additional portable heaters ensure that you have adequately assessed the fire risk that they create and ensure they are switched off when not in use. We can advise further on these if you are considering using them.