Ventilation Hygiene

Ductwork inspections to B&ES TR19, CIBSE TM26, HTM 0301, BS:EN15780 and much more.

The basis of British health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The Act sets out the general duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public, and employees have to themselves and to each other.

Regulations are law, approved by Parliament. These are usually made under the Health and Safety at Work Act, following proposals from Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) offer practical examples of good practice. They give advice on how to comply with the law by, for example, providing a guide to what is ‘reasonably practicable’. For example, if regulations use words like ‘suitable and sufficient’, an Approved Code of Practice can illustrate what this requires in particular circumstances. Approved Codes of Practice have a special legal status.

Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires every enclosed workspace to be ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air. Regulation 5 of the same regulations requires mechanical ventilation systems to be subject to a suitable system of maintenance and cleaned as appropriate.

If and when, these are cleaned should be defined by the risk assessment process which are required by the following;

  • Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and
  • Within provision 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and
  • Regulation 6 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

HSG202 General Ventilation in the workplace, guidance for employers states “as a general rule, if you run your finger along the opening of a duct and it collects dust then it probably needs cleaning”. It also notes that the BESA and CIBSE provide information on testing for likely contaminants in ductwork and on ductwork cleaning.

To ensure that your legal position is covered in terms of ventilation system hygiene, you need to define:

  • A ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment of risk.
  • What ‘a suitable system of maintenance is,
  • What ‘suitable intervals’ for maintenance are,
  • When it is ‘appropriate’ to clean, and
  • What ‘a suitable record’ for the validating of the maintenance programme is.