Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus (COVID-19)

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).

6. Ventilation and air conditioning

The law says employers must make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace. This has not changed during the pandemic.

Good ventilation, as well as keeping the workplace clean and washing hands frequently, can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

Why ventilation is important

Good ventilation reduces the concentration of the virus in the air. This reduces the risks from airborne transmission.

Airborne transmission can happen when people breathe in small particles (aerosols) in the air after someone with the virus has been in an enclosed area.

Ventilation will not stop transmission caused by touching surfaces or people being close to each other.

You should consider ventilation alongside the control measures needed to reduce the risk of transmission as part of working safely.

Questions to ask your workers on ventilation and air conditioning

  • How do we bring fresh air (ventilation) into our workplace?
    • Think about natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents you can open fully or partially
    • Think about how we use mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts) to bring fresh air in from outside
  • How can we improve ventilation?
    • Think about areas that feel stuffy or smell bad – open windows, air vents and doors (not fire doors)
    • Think about airing rooms as frequently as you can – open windows and doors fully when no-one’s using the room
    • Think about setting systems to maximise fresh air and minimise recirculation
    • If the ventilation in an area needs improving, can we close that area until we’ve improved it? How can we balance keeping people comfortable with providing natural ventilation?
  • What else can we do to improve ventilation?
    • What can you do?
    • What can your manager do?
    • What can the company or organisation do?

Find out more

To help answer these questions, read our guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the pandemic.

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

Page last reviewed: 31 August 2021

Next review due: 31 October 2021

Updated 2021-08-31