The Safety Case

As well as the benefits for the health and wellbeing of a building's occupants and the benefits it can bring to a business, ensuring air-security can also protect your organisation from enforcement action, litigation for violations of health and safety law.

As an employer now, the cleanliness of your inside air has to be the priority to protect your people…

Institutions and Regulators around the world agree with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory transmission, with micro-droplets and larger droplets being exhaled into the air where they can be inhaled by others. This is an airborne disease.”

While many organisations will have adapted to the measures made mandatory by the government, such as the use of face coverings, regular cleaning and social distancing, businesses can take additional steps to significantly reduce the risk of transmission on their premises and also reduce the risk of potential future enforcement or litigation.

As an Employer, you’ll know that it is a legal obligation to do whatever is reasonably practicable to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers and other people who might be affected by your business; meaning that risks to injury or health must be effectively controlled. Many are not aware of how important it is now against Covid-19, to ensure suitable distribution and flows of ventilation and that you must ensure the air in your building is free of impurities that are likely to cause ill health. This includes microbes such as bacteria and viruses.

To contemplate airborne hazards, you should be aware that viral hazards are never static. The hazard that you’re attempting to mitigate today may be different to that emerging tomorrow and so, you need to intervene with longer-term solutions that may well need to go beyond typical current government guidelines, depending upon your risk, environment and nature of your operations.

We, like many respected Institutions and scientists, advocate increased quantities of better quality filtered air being drawn into inside spaces and distributed adequately. We recommend that air should be HEPA filtered and changed 10 times per hour (depending on a spatial configuration, risk and viral load). Importantly, these engineering improvements should be coupled with germicidal UV (UVGI) disinfection systems that readily inactivate all known microbes, including COVID-19, to help you make your interior spaces safer, and clearly to do all that is reasonably practicable to protect people’s health, safety and welfare.

The UK Regulator, The HSE’s Requirements: Making your Workplace COVID-Secure during the coronavirus pandemic:

Ventilation and air conditioning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The law requires employers to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace and this has not changed during the pandemic.

Air cleaning and filtration units

Local air cleaning and filtration units can be used to reduce airborne transmission where it isn’t possible to maintain adequate ventilation. Filtration systems, high-efficiency filters and ultraviolet-based devices are the most suitable types to use. They should be the correct size for the area they are being used in.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974:

It is an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their business. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.

This means making sure that workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues.

Ventilation

6.—(1) Effective and suitable provision shall be made to ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air. ( The ACOP goes further and states air shall, “be free of any impurity which is likely to be offensive or cause ill health”)

Comment: This means that air filtration alone is insufficient and for non-chemical intervention, UV-C is needed to destroy airborne viruses which can be as small as 0.06 microns for SARS2

The Building Regulations – Part F : Ventilation (amendment out to consultation)

” … buildings should have the ability to provide adequate outdoor air to all occupied spaces without recirculating air within spaces or between different spaces, rooms or zones, unless the ventilation system has an ultraviolet filter, HEPA filter or other germicidal filter.”