Health & Safety Relating to Air Quality
The following Health & Safety at Work regulations apply to air quality and require that effective provision should be made to ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air.
Health & Safety at Work (1992): Where ventilation is provided by mechanical means the regulations require those mechanical ventilation systems to be maintained and cleaned as appropriate, to ensure efficient working order. Failure to carry out these duties is a breach of the regulations.
Regulation 5 of the Health & Safety at Work Regulations (1992) stipulates a duty to clean mechanical ventilation ‘as appropriate.’ The Workplace Regulations are accompanied by an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) which gives guidance on how compliance with the regulations can be achieved.
- ACoP 22(A) States that regular maintenance (including inspection, testing, adjustment, lubrication and cleaning) should be carried out at regular intervals.
- ACoP 33 States: ‘Mechanical ventilation systems should be regularly and properly cleaned, tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air.’
Regulation 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Regulations (1999) imposes a duty on every employer to conduct a risk assessment. The testing procedure within HVCA TR/19 (Deposit Thickness Test – D.T.T./Vacuum Test – V.T.) assists in assessing some of the risks in relation to poorly maintained ventilation systems.
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Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 lays down that employers or persons concerned with the premises owe the ‘common duty of care’ both to employees and others who may use or visit the premises. This duty must be exercised ‘so far as is reasonably practicable.’
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