In recent weeks a number of clients have reported receiving emails along the lines of:
New Indoor Air Quality Regulations: are you ready?
These emails often say something along the lines of “the new HSA Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality has come into effect. (In accordance with Section 60 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005)” and then go on to explain how the sender can help you meet these new requirements and all for a very reasonable fee.
So what has changed? What do I need to do about it? And why haven’t I heard about it before?
In May this year in the Republic of Ireland, there was an update to the Health and Safety Regulations and the Irish Health and safety Authority (HSA) issued a Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality. This does set requirements for monitoring air quality in indoor workplaces in particular for carbon dioxide.
However this only applies in southern Ireland. So If you have clients with premises in the Irish Republic then they should make themselves aware of the new code as they may need to take action. See https://www.hsa.ie/eng/publications_and_forms/publications/codes_of_practice/code_of_practice_for_indoor_air_quality.html
On the other hand for clients who only have premises in the UK,I can’t find any changes to UK H&S legislation that would require additional indoor air quality monitoring, beyond what may already be required under COSHH. There are documents that say the government (specifically Defra)has investigated indoor air quality recently, but I can’t find any proposed legislation or other changes.
Where there have been changes are the building regulations. As building regulation is a devolved matter this is a little complicated, but:
In England Approved Document F sets the standards for building ventilation. Under the latest edition, certain rooms in new buildings“ should have a means of monitoring the indoor air quality. This may be achieved using CO2 monitors or other means of measuring indoor air quality”
This applies to occupiable rooms in:
But this only applies to rooms between 125m3 to800m3 volume (or 50m2 to 320m2 floor area)
And only applies to new buildings (and just because you are required to have monitors, it doesn’t say you actually have to use them). See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1082450/ADF2_revised.pdf
Wales has similar requirements for new buildings see https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2022-09/approved-document-f-vol-2-final.pdf
Scotland has technical handbooks and to the best of my understanding, as far as workplaces are concerned, CO2 monitors are only required for schools. See https://www.gov.scot/publications/building-standards-technical-handbook-2023-non-domestic/ but I’m not making any guarantees on that one.
Note: There are UK workplace exposure limits for carbon dioxide (LTEL 5000ppm / 9150mg/m3 or STEL 15000ppm / 27400mg/m3)