Last month, Deputy Paul Murphy, of the People Before Profit-Solidarity party for Dublin South-West proposed a new Bill to amend the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
The Bill proposes to include a definition of fresh air based on CO2 levels in the workplace, as an emergency Covid-19 prevention measure, as follows:
“Sufficient fresh air” means air with a CO2 concentration of less than 900 parts per 20 million, where appropriate air filtration devices have not been installed.
Ventilation of enclosed places of work during the Covid-19 pandemic
The proposed changes, if successfully passed, will amend Section 11 of the Act of 2005 by the insertion of the following after subsection (1):
“(1A) (a) Every employer shall ensure that ‘sufficient fresh air’ is provided in 25 enclosed places of work.
(b) Every employee has the right to request an inspection of their workplace by the Health and Safety Authority to verify that ‘sufficient fresh air’ is provided in enclosed places of work.
(c) For the purposes of this subsection ‘samples of the atmosphere in any place of work’ referred to in section 64(1)(r) shall include the level of CO2 concentration in enclosed places of work.
(d) (i) For the purposes of this subsection ‘improvement notices’ shall
be issued where an inspector is of the opinion that sufficient 5 fresh air is not provided at an enclosed place of work.
(ii) For the purposes of this subsection section 67(7) shall not apply and the date specified in the improvement notice shall be no later than 24 hours from the date of the notice.
(e) For the purposes of this subsection ‘prohibition notices’ shall be 10 issued where an inspector is of the opinion that the level of CO2 concentration at an enclosed place of work exceeds 1,500 parts per million, and where appropriate air filtration devices have not been installed.”
Under the current provisions of the Bill, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment shall, not later than 3 months after the commencement of this Act, carry out a review of the operation of this Act.
This Private Members’ Bill was not opposed and – under Standing Orders – will now proceed to Second Stage, which must be taken in Private Members’ time. The team at Sonitus will monitor the progression of these changes through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Bill can be accessed in full here: Workplace Ventilation (Covid-19) Bill 2021
Sonitus Systems offers both the hardware and software for a range of environmental parameters on a continual basis, with real-time information available through our Sonitus Cloud dashboard. For more details on our indoor and outdoor noise and air quality monitoring products and services, please contact the team at Sonitus Systems.