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Last updated: January 4, 2019

What Does Ventilation Mean?

Ventilation refers to the process of removal of stale inside air from a building, room or a confined space and replacing it with natural fresh air. Proper ventilation is essential for breathing, as the oxygen level is gradually reduced in an inhabited area, thus removal or dilution of air pollutants, smoke and odor, controlling humidity and temperature within the space being used is required. Ventilation is also required where there are engines and machines present to allow a supply of oxygen, which is required for combustion, cooling, humidity control and smoke or vapor removal.

Safeopedia Explains Ventilation

The ventilation process is comprised of the exchange of air between the inside and outside environment of a designated space, as well as internal circulation within the space. It is achieved naturally through openings or mechanically by using various types of fans. Ventilation that involves heat exchange, humidity control or purification are complicated mechanical procedures. Ventilation is required for all inhabited areas including the following:

  • Houses - Bed rooms, living rooms, kitchen, toilets and stores etc.

  • Factories and industries - Work places, shop floors, machinery spaces, chemical handling or process areas, laboratories, depots, stores, canteens, common spaces and utility areas etc.

  • Offices - Rooms, common spaces, dining areas, toilets etc.

  • Public places, such as markets, hospitals, food courts, restrooms and common spaces etc.

  • Mines - All mines that are not open mines

  • Confined spaces - All accessible confined spaces, containers, tanks, sewerage manholes etc.

There are established standards for the required rate of ventilation in specific areas as per appropriate government authorities such as Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States. These are legal requirements for the employers and management to follow.


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