Last edited 08 Jan 2021

Fresh air


The term ‘fresh air’ is commonly used to refer to air that is outside (or from outside) a building or enclosed space, as opposed to that which is inside. In order to ensure a good supply of fresh air, buildings need to be properly ventilated. Sometimes air that is not fresh is referred to as 'stale air'.

The provision of fresh air in a building is important to occupantswellbeing and has several benefits, including:

  • Increasing oxygen availability and removing carbon dioxide.
  • Maintaining a comfortable temperature.
  • Enabling optimum brain functioning, increasing energy levels and improving concentration.
  • Diluting and removing odours.
  • Helping to moderate internal humidity.
  • Reducing the accumulation of moisture, bacteria, dust, smoke and other contaminants.

Insufficient fresh air can result in occupants feeling tired, experiencing headaches, irritated eyes, and so on.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require that an employer does what is needed to make sure that every enclosed workplace is ventilated by a sufficient quantity of fresh or purified air. It states that the fresh air supply rate should not normally fall below 5-8 litres per second, per occupant. The appropriate rate should be decided by several factors, such as the amount of floor space per occupant, the work activity, possible sources of airborne hazards, and so on.

For more information see: Ventilation.

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