Legislation has placed increasing awareness on the indoor environment for both employees and visitors.
The main excerpts have been summarised below:
Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 places a 'common duty of care' on employers and persons concerned with premises in relation to employees and others who may use or visit the premises. Section 2 (2) (e) requires employers to "provide and maintain a working environment that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health"
The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Regulation 5) requires that equipment, devices and systems "shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair"
Regulation 6 ACOP section 33 states that "Mechanical ventilation systems (including air conditioning systems) should be regularly and properly cleaned, tested and maintained to ensure that they are kept clean and free from anything which may contaminate the air."
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Regulation 3) places a specific duty on every employer to make a "suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work and the risk to the health and safety of persons not in his employment".
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH)
Employers carrying out industrial processes are responsible for carrying out risk assessments to ensure adequate indoor air quality. Failure to comply could lead to prosecution
In April 2006, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Fire Act (Scotland) 2005 came into operation. Every business employing more than 4 people, must carry out a fire risk assessment and record it. The significant findings of the fire risk assessment and any persons at special risk must be documented. All commercial kitchens have to comply and failure could result in closure by an Environmental Health Officer or insurers not paying claims caused by kitchen extract fires.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force April 2008 allowing companies and organisations to be found guilty as a result of serious management failures, such as building fires linked to poorly maintained ventilation systems.