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HSE update COVID-Secure Workplaces

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HSE update COVID-Secure Workplaces

HSE Update COVID-Secure Workplaces.  Is your ventilation adequate and compliant? Use this ventilation check tool to help to assess your risk.

The Health & Safety Executive and the British Occupational Hygiene Society have created a ventilation check tool to help employers and building owners to assess their ventilation arrangements. Ventilation is critically important to preventing transmission from the airborne coronavirus and other airborne pathogens such as Influenza A because it helps to reduce the concentration of the invisible infectious aerosols exhaled by infected occupants by extracting and diluting the contaminated air with clean fresh or decontaminated air.

The tool only requires basic information about the space that you are aiming to protect, such as the size of the room, the number of people who use it and the types of ventilation the space possess e.g. types of window openings and HVAC types. It uses a simple scoring system to give you an indication as to whether your ventilation is likely to have no effect, some effect, or a strong effect on reducing the attack risk from coronavirus.

Paul Waldeck, Technical Director at PP-L Biosafety says, “It is important that employers and those in control of interior spaces assess the ventilation arrangements and air quality in their workspaces as this helps them to understand their risks and if needs-be, choose the appropriate covid-secure air mitigations based on their individual occupational circumstances so people can breathe safely.

Adequate ventilation is often measured around the world as number of air changes per hour (ACH). Most markers from institutions globally point to 6ACH as being a decent level for improved safety and compliance. In the UK we also recommend one targets achieving 10-15 l/sec/person for higher occupancy spaces if that is greater than 6 ACH equivalence.

These levels of ventilation equate to over 95% of room air decontamination in 30 minutes which would afford excellent level of attack risk reduction. However, higher air changes per hour are suggested for higher risk settings as data from previous TB and SARS pandemics have identified that infection was quashed at 9ACH, hence a target of 10ACH for clinical settings is widely recommended. Other ventilation indicators include levels of CO2 in the room air, as high levels(>800ppm) indicate a lack of fresh air.”

Paul continues, “Regulators and Institutions around the world are clear that if ventilation is inadequate, then allowable mitigations such as HEPA filters and/or correctly designed and specified germicidal Ultraviolet solutions can be used. (Not Ozone or Bi-polar Ionization techniques for occupied spaces). UV based mitigations are particularly appealing as they are highly effective and far less expensive than installing or upgrading to a full fresh air HVAC system or deploying MERV13 + Filters into a mechanical ventilation system. Therefore, the tool has accounted for the effectiveness of fitting HEPA and/or using ultraviolet devices to improve ventilation.”

You can use the tool by following this link: https://breathefreely.org.uk/ventilation-tool/

If your space receives a low score, it is important that you act now to keep your people safe. PP-L can help you. We are a team of British Medical Professionals, Scientists, and Chartered Engineers who are experts in helping people protect against pathogens. We offer a range of carefully selected optimal infection mitigation devices, as well as in-duct UV-C solutions for air disinfection within existing and new HVAC systems. Our mission is to make organisations safer, more resilient, and ready for whatever the future may bring.

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