Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Defence
80. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the steps he has taken to improve ventilation in the office buildings of his Department; if air cleaning and or purification systems have been installed in 2021; and if not, the plans to install same in 2022. [59716/21]
The Department of Defence adheres to all Government advice and guidelines addressed in the Work Safely Protocol regarding steps required to ensure adequate ventilation in all of its buildings. The Department has also engaged with the Office of Public Works (OPW) throughout the pandemic to ensure the Department's compliance with the guidelines and checklists produced by the Health & Safety Authority (HSA).
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 require employers to make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of the workplace. The simplest way to ensure adequate air quality in poorly ventilated areas is by way of natural ventilation which relies on passive air flow through windows, doors and air vents that can be fully or partially opened.
No air cleaning and or purification systems have been installed in the Department's Offices in 2021 nor are there plans to do so. The Department is satisfied that there is satisfactory ventilation in all its buildings as all offices have opening windows facilitating airflow through the building. This, allied to limited and restricted attendance in the offices and compliance with other covid protective practices supports the safety of staff when they may be required to attend the offices for essential business reasons under the current arrangements.
Obviously the Department will keep this matter under review with regard to any necessary changes recommended by way of expert technical advice in relation to ventilation, or further advices issued by the relevant authorities.