Why Clean and Maintain Ductwork?
Health and Legal Reasons

Why clean and maintain your ventilation System? Good question and the answers are split into two separate sections why you should clean and maintain your Ventilation system:

1. Health Reasons for cleaning and maintaining your ventilation system and
2. Legal reasons for cleaning and maintaining your ventilation system.


1. Health

Unmaintained and uncleaned ventilation systems can have an adverse effect on the health and wellbeing of the people working within that environment. Think about it, imagine all the minute particles, dust, molds, dead vermin that can get into a ventilation system, and the air that you are breathing has passed through all that.

The adverse effect that some occupants encounter and the causes of these effects are often called ?Sick Building Syndrome?, these occupants may complain about; sensory irritation of the eyes, nose, throat; neurotoxic or general health problems; skin irritation; nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions; and odour and taste sensations.

In most cases ?SBS? symptoms will be relieved soon after the occupant has left that particular room or floor, however there can be lingering effects of various neurotoxins which may not clear up when the occupant leaves the building. Particularly in sensitive individuals there can be long term health effects.

Apart from the obvious discomfort and health issues involved with the individuals themselves, ?SBS? can increase the employee absence rate through illness, can lower morale as staff have to try to cover other peoples work as they are absent due to illness and can lower productivity, as people not feeling 100% struggle to be productive.


2. Legal

There are legal responsibilities placed on employers and building owners to ensure the health and safety of the people under their care. For example the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations Act 1992 Section 5 states that ?devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient working order and in good repair. Where appropriate the devices and systems shall be subject to a suitable course of maintenance?.

In section 6 of the same act it goes further to say the ?effective and suitable provision shall be made to ensure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air?.

The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare regulations 1992, sections 5 and 6 go on to further state that ? every confined space in which people spend their working time must be supplied with sufficient quantity of fresh of purified air. Where environments have mechanical forms of ventilation (such as ductwork) these same regulations say that it must be maintained?.

Failure to comply with these regulations and the directives within them would be a serious breach of the Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare regulations 1992.

Other important legal legislation to remember is the ?Regulatory Reform (fire Safety) Order (RRO)? came into effect in late 2006, making a big impact on fire safety throughout the UK. The RRO changed the responsibility for the fire safety system; the responsibility now lies on who the RRO coins the ?responsible person?. This usually means the employer or the owner of the building. The fire safety systems that must be kept in order include all active and passive fire protection systems. Included in this list of items in the passive fire protection systems are the maintenance of the fire and smoke dampers. Damper testing can be often overlooked either due to a fact that they are not visible so become forgotten about or due to a lack of knowledge of the requirements of their maintenance. But dampers are a vital part of your fire protection strategy and require maintenance regularly.