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

Removal of most coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

This page is up to date following the removal of most restrictions in England. There are different regulations and guidance to follow for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The latest advice on keeping workplaces safe will help you assess the risks and continue to reduce COVID-19 transmission. This includes links to information on vaccination, as well as on testing, tracking and tracing (including where variants are spreading).

7. Air cleaning and filtration units

You can use local air cleaning and filtration units to reduce airborne transmission of aerosols where it is not possible to maintain adequate ventilation.

These units are not a substitute for ventilation. You should prioritise any areas identified as poorly ventilated for improvement in other ways before you think about using an air cleaning device.

If you decide to use an air cleaning unit, the most suitable types to use are:

  • high-efficiency filters
  • ultraviolet-based devices

Any unit should be appropriate for the size of the area it’s used in to ensure it works in the way it’s intended to.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors are not suitable for use in areas that rely on air cleaning units. This is because filtration units remove contaminants (such as coronavirus) from the air but do not remove CO2.

Air cleaning devices are also used to disinfect workplaces and there is HSE has guidance on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems during the pandemic.

Find out more

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has published a paper on the potential application of air cleaning devices to manage transmission of COVID-19.

We review and update this page regularly to reflect any changes in guidance.

Page last reviewed: 12 October 2021

Next review due: 31 October 2021

Updated 2021-10-12