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

Latest advice on keeping workplaces safe from COVID-19

This page is up to date with working safely guidance in England. There are different regulations and guidance to follow for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

The latest advice on continuing to keep workplaces safe will help you assess the risks and reduce COVID-19 transmission. This includes links to advice from public health bodies and other government departments on measures not implemented by HSE, such as vaccination and testing.

4. Improving natural ventilation

You can improve natural ventilation by fully or partly opening windows, air vents and doors. Don’t prop fire doors open. 

Buildings are usually designed to provide adequate ventilation. You should be able to open any windows or vents that let in fresh air. If they cannot be opened, ventilation in that area will be less effective.

If you identify an area that needs improvement, you should decide if it’s safe for people to use that area before you make any changes.

Don’t close doors or windows completely when people are in a naturally ventilated area. This can result in very low levels of ventilation.

Cooler, windier weather increases natural ventilation through openings. This means you don’t need to open windows and doors so wide. See if you can open any trickle vents in your workplace.

We have more advice on balancing ventilation with keeping workplace temperatures comfortable.

Our examples of improving ventilation to reduce transmission provide further advice on practical steps you can take.

Purging (airing rooms)

Airing rooms as frequently as you can improves ventilation. Opening all the doors and windows maximises ventilation in a room. It may be better to do this when the room is unoccupied.

Talking to your workers about improving ventilation

Making sure that an area has enough fresh air relies on your workers playing their part.

You should explain the importance of adequate ventilation to your workers so they can play their part in reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

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

Page last reviewed: 19 January 2022

Next review due: 30 January 2022

Updated 2021-12-29