PCS challenges HSE view on air conditioning

29 Jun 2020

PCS has written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asking them to revisit their position on the use of air conditioning systems and desk fans in light of emerging scientific evidence. 

The HSE last week published a statement claiming air conditioning systems and desk fans pose ‘an extremely low risk’ in the transmission of corona virus.

Based on scientific studies of the virus compiled by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth we issued guidance to reps outlining these risks and advising the use of air conditioning and desk fans to factored into risk assessments. The Federation of European heating, ventilation and air conditioning association (REHVA), representing over 120,000 HVAC designers, building services engineers, technicians and experts across 27 European countries, backs up our concerns and advises employers to implement and number of measures to make ventilation systems covid secure.

PCS has today (29 June) written to Sarah Albon, HSE chief executive, asking how they have arrived at their conclusion that air conditioning and desk fans pose ‘an extremely low risk’ and to provide us with their evidence.  

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency warns more must be done to improve ventilation to reduce corona risk. A report from China show infections among bus passengers in Hunan Province suggests air conditioning can play a role in helping the virus to travel up to 4.5 metres.  

In light of all of this, PCS is asking the HSE to revisit this conclusion and to ensure any guidance the issue is based on the scientific evidence available.    

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