Updated Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations were published 18 November, giving a major boost to the heating and ventilation trades. The Health and Safety Executive spokesperson said: “It will help employers understand the regulatory requirements on key issues such as temperature, cleanliness, work stations and seating, toilets and washing facilities”
The revision follows the 2011 government-ordered review by Professor Löfstedt to reduce confusion, duplication and over-compliance with health and safety rules, while maintaining the beneficial outcomes.
Industry observers agree that sensible measures such as the duty to ensure temperatures are reasonably comfortable; that adequate, clean drinking water and sanitation are provided; and safe access for maintenance is available have been properly retained. Over-compliant misinterpretations such as requiring system failure alarms on comfort HVAC systems (rather than the more critical Local Exhaust Ventilation or ‘dilution’ systems) have been clarified as not needed.
Regulation 6 on Ventilation re-states that ‘Mechanical ventilation systems (including air-conditioning systems) should be regularly and adequately cleaned. They should also be properly tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air.’ Europeans spend most of their time in indoor environments and poor indoor air quality is responsible for 2 million ‘disability adjusted life years’ (DALYs) in the 27 EU Member States conjointly every year.
Nick Umfreville, CEO at duct cleaning specialist, Ventilation Surveys and Services Ltd, said, 'The clarifications are useful both for building owners and operators and for the specialist trades servicing them. The Approved Code of Practice on Ventilation ties in nicely with British Standard EN 15780 which sets out when duct systems should be cleaned and inspected.'