Ventilation Matters: Safeguarding Health and Well-Being
In term, we spend a significant amount of time indoors. As a result, it is worth taking the time to consider one crucial aspect of maintaining a safe environment: adequate ventilation.
Ventilation is the supply of fresh air while removing stale air. It can be achieved through natural means or by mechanical means or both. It is pivotal in safeguarding health. It helps ensure good indoor air quality (IAQ), as well as thermal comfort. It has a direct impact on the health, well-being and productivity of the University Community.
In May 2023, the HSA introduced the new Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality, to assist employers with managing Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in their workplaces. The Code aims to provide practical guidance on:
- improving IAQ;
- improving ventilation in workplaces;
- establishing a set of acceptable values for specific chemical and physical parameters; and
- describing mechanisms to identify, evaluate and control IAQ issues.
Contributing factors to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) include inadequate or poor ventilation, poor external air quality and exposure to a range of chemicals, biological agents and other contaminants in the workplace air. Poor IAQ can cause a variety of both short-term and long-term health problems.
The Power of Fresh Air - Good ventilation is more than just a way to keep a room feeling fresh; it's a key factor in safeguarding against a variety of health risks. Adequate ventilation ensures the circulation of fresh air, which plays a crucial role in protecting us from a range of issues, including:
- Respiratory Health: Proper ventilation helps reduce the risk of respiratory infections, such as colds, flu, and even COVID-19. It helps dilute and disperse airborne pathogens, making it harder for them to spread.
- Radon Mitigation: Adequate ventilation can also help in mitigating Radon gas, a naturally occurring, potentially harmful substance. Adequate ventilation can help prevent the buildup of Radon in enclosed spaces.
- Removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Indoor air can contain harmful VOCs emitted from various sources like paints, cleaning products, and furnishings. Good ventilation helps in removing these pollutants, ensuring cleaner indoor air quality.
- Overall Well-being: Ventilation is not just about health; it's also about creating a comfortable and productive indoor environment. Fresh air promotes mental clarity, focus, and overall well-being.
What You Can Do
- In the case of mechanical ventilation, people will have to do very little, as it is automated for the most part.
- In the case of naturally ventilated spaces, manual intervention is required.
- In all cases, follow any instructions provided by the Buildings & Estates Office (B&E):
- ‘Look’ – to check that the mechanical ventilation is running, that any ‘visual indicator streamers’, fitted to the incoming air supply grills, indicate airflow, that windows are partially open as required etc. Where practicable, ‘visual indicator streamers’ have been placed on sentinel incoming air supply grills, of mechanically ventilated rooms, to empower people to see that fresh air is being supplied into the room.
- ‘Check’ – the CO2 levels periodically;
- ‘Act’ – Follow any instructions provided by B&E. Report any issues to the B&E Maintenance Helpdesk on (021) 490 2480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find more information via the following link, ‘Ventilation FAQs’.
Our Commitment - At UCC, we are committed to your safety, health, and well-being. The Buildings & Estates Office are regularly monitoring and improving, where necessary, ventilation systems across our campus, with view to creating a safer and more comfortable environment for everyone.
It is important to remember, that ensuring good ventilation isn't just about mitigating specific risks; it's about promoting overall health and creating a space where people can thrive. Working together, we can breathe easy and stay healthy.
If you have any questions or concerns about ventilation in your area, please don't hesitate to contact the Buildings & Estates Helpdesk via https://email@example.com or tel: 021 490 2480. For Safety & Health queries, please contact the ERM Helpdesk, via: https://portal.ucc.ie/ or email: ERM@ucc.ie, or tel: 021 490 2817.
Stay Safe, breathe well, and let’s take care of each other.