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Airing and ventilation for infection control during the pandemic

For infection control, it is vital that rooms are aired and ventilated regularly and correctly. This is especially true during the cold winter months, but is made more difficult by the uncomfortable outdoor temperatures.

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The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA) provides a range of practical recommendations on how to ensure workplaces and meeting rooms are aired and ventilated adequately, and how ventilation and air conditioning systems should be adjusted to meet current requirements.

Latest scientific knowledge

The baua: Focus on "Airing and ventilation for infection control" (German only) addresses relevant aspects of airing and ventilation for the purposes of infection control, explains their background and context, gives guidance on their implementation as part of a set of suitable protective measures, and offers advice on the operation of air conditioning and ventilation systems.

The baua: Focus "Extended infection protection through the use of mobile indoor air purification devices?" discusses relevant key questions on the use of mobile indoor air purifiers as an infection protection measure, thus serves as a decision-making aid for practical use and provides concrete information on the appropriate use, selection and required quality as well as the proper operation of such devices.

Practical recommendations for workplace safety and health

The leaflet "Airing and ventilating workplaces in the time of Corona" (German only) sets out information for occupational safety and health professionals and employees about how the risk of infection can be reduced by adequate airing and ventilation in the workplace.

Practical information is provided by the brochure "Mobile Air Purifiers - Guide to their Selection and Operation" (German only), which is published by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS) and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Some of the central issues relating to airing and ventilation are discussed on an FAQ page (German only). Various questions are dealt with, such as "What needs to be considered when using individual secondary air conditioning units (without fresh air intake)?" and "Is any guidance available on adequate airing and ventilation in schools and child day care centres?"

German Federal Government recommendation

An expert dialogue was conducted in order to thoroughly analyse the significance of airing and ventilation for infection control. This process was led by BAuA, with support from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS), the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG), and the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt). The findings reached are summarised in the German Federal Government’s recommendation on "Airing and ventilation for infection control" (PDF, 107 KB) (German only).

baua: Aktuell no. 3/20

baua: Aktuell no. 3/20 (German only) presents in-depth information about occupational safety and health during the pandemic, looking for example at social distancing, hygiene, masks, face coverings, and airing and ventilation. It includes an interview with Isabel Rothe, the President of BAuA, in which she talks about the new SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rule. This edition also features articles about key infection control measures based on the work of three of BAuA's advisory committees, the Committee for Workplaces (Ausschuss für Arbeitsstätten, ASTA), the Committee on Biological Agents (Ausschuss für Biologische Arbeitsstoffe, ABAS), and the Occupational Medicine Committee (Ausschuss für Arbeitsmedizin, AfAMed), as well as a number of other relevant pieces on occupational safety and health under Corona conditions.

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