Introduction to the New Code of Practice
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA), with the consent of Mr. Neale Richmond, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, has published a new Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality. This comes in accordance with Section 60 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The Code of Practice aims to provide practical guidance for the observance of the provisions of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, as amended by S.I 255 of 2023. The new regulations came into operation on 26 May 2023.
Legal Implications of New Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality
The new indoor air quality regulations have legal implications. In proceedings for an offense under the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 relating to an alleged contravention of any requirement or prohibition, the Code of Practice will be admissible in evidence. If it is proved that any act or omission of the defendant is a failure to observe or is in compliance with the Code of Practice, then such failure or compliance is also admissible in evidence.
Technical Specifications and Standards of New Indoor Air Quality Regulations
The new regulations align with international standards, including:
- ISO 16890-1:2016: Technical specifications, requirements, and classification system based upon particulate matter (PM) efficiency.
- ISO 7730:2005: Ergonomics of the thermal environment – Analytical determination and interpretation of thermal comfort using calculation of the Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) and Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied (PPD) indices and local thermal comfort criteria.
- EN 16798-1:2019: Energy performance of buildings – Ventilation for buildings: Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting, and acoustics.
The new HSA Indoor Air Quality Regulations are a significant step towards ensuring a safer and healthier work environment in Ireland. With its legal implications and alignment with international standards, the new regulations are set to make a substantial impact on how businesses manage indoor air quality. Employers and employees alike should familiarise themselves with the new guidelines to ensure compliance and promote a healthier workplace.
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