Proper ventilation combats COVID-19 spread in workplaces

January 8, 2021 By    

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers guidance to help workplaces optimize building ventilation during the novel coronavirus pandemic to ensure safe, healthy work environments.

OSHA recommends employers take the following precautions to help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.
  • Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.
  • Use HVAC system filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value rating of 13 or higher where feasible.
  • Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.
  • Be sure exhaust air is not pulled back into the building from HVAC air intakes or open windows.
  • Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air fan/filtration systems to increase clean air, especially in higher-risk areas.
  • When changing filters, wear appropriate personal protective equipment. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommends N95 masks, eye protection (safety glasses, goggle or face shields) and disposable gloves.
  • Make sure exhaust fans in restrooms are fully functional, operating at maximum capacity, and are set to remain on.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

For more information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit

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