With employees returning to work, you as an employer want to be seen to be doing everything you can to ensure the safety of the workplace environment.
Air Conditioning and Ventilation often comes under scrutiny even in ‘normal times’, there is a conception that your AC and ventilation can spread germs and bacteria throughout a building.
If your employees are concerned about such issues under normal circumstances, then it follows that they may think your ventilation system could also spread COVID-19 throughout the workplace.
The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) have stated ‘The risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace is extremely low’.
In fact, correctly configured and well-maintained ventilation can reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
The focus is on introducing fresh air into the building and removing stale air. This could be through your ventilation system, opening windows/doors anything to get movement of fresh air throughout the whole building.
Additionally, if you have a centralised ventilation system, it is important to turn off recirculation. This will increase the fresh air introduced to the building.
For more information on COVID-19 and Air Conditioning a number of resources have been produced.
These provide guidance on every aspect of this topic (links below take you to either the HSE or CIBSE Websites):
HSE Article - Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak [link]
CIBSE Article - Emerging from lockdown [link]
CIBSE Article - Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 and HVAC Systems [link]