Specific risks in manufacturing
Whether a site handles organic or inorganic materials, the hazards which can be present in industrial facilities can vary greatly:
Facilities that handle ORGANIC goods carry a higher risk of microbial hazards. Bio-film also builds up with microbiological hazards to impose on the ventilation systems’ filter efficiency and airflow rate.
Facilities that handle INORGANIC goods are more likely to encounter pollutants that lead to respiratory problems such as asthma.
While these hazards have always required mitigation, COVID-19 now adds a new microbial threat that must be managed, controlled or eliminated to protect the workforce and meet compliance standards. Sites located in regions with higher air pollution are also more vulnerable to operational disruption from Covid-19. Recent evidence demonstrates that elevated levels of particulate matter in the air exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.
Problems with using air filtration systems alone
Some measures that could be put in place are improved air filtration systems which will help remove dust particles etc. from the air, however:
There will have to be an increase in the air distribution as higher MERV 13 or HEPA filters reduce the total efficiency and air distribution from the HVAC system. This reduced air change rate or decontamination rate is counterproductive from a risk management perspective because we want to be achieving at least the great of 6Air Changes per Hour or 10litres/person/second. Increasing Filter rating is usually impractical physically from the plant perspective and the energy consumption and cost perspective.
Biofilm also builds up with microbial hazards to impose on filter efficiency and airflow rate.
It is nearly always impractical to upgrade a factory ducted ventilation system for filters of flow rate to deal with airborne pathogens without significant plant and power upgrades, which may not be possible physically or financially.
The careful deployment of germicidal ultraviolet disinfection systems can improve Covid-security and, indeed, pathogen biosafety as a whole, without the need for costly engineering investments. All are low energy and chemical-free interventions.
Total Building, total pathogen, air disinfection solution
The use of UV-C systems within the HVAC system and on key components within the HVAC systems will ensure that airflow is kept at a maximum and that microbes are inactivated and removed from circulation as quickly as practicable. This requires extensive calculations and engineering excellence, but we, at PP-L, do for you as part of the process using our CFD capabilities.
Localised air disinfection
Areas of higher workforce aerosol generation and mixing such as canteens, changing rooms, toilets and corridors also need to be targeted for infection intervention.
The use of targeted, more localised air recirculation systems with fitted UV-C may also pay dividends as bio-contamination will be removed swiftly without the contaminated air coming into contact with workers.
Our industrial-scale UVR fan-assisted upper room emitters can disinfect large volumes of air, with no more than 1 part per million bacteria and viruses remaining. These patented and decades proven products are the most potent commercially available UV-C upper room emitters in the world. Because all of our air treatment systems are designed to prevent exposing people to any UV-C, they can safely run 24/7 with people present, going about their business.
- Direct UV-C Surface Disinfection – Conventional surface cleaning may need supplementing in certain parts of factories. Alternatively, direct UV-C lamp emitters for areas of particular surface cleaning risk could be added and installed on timers/movement sensors/contacts/interlocks to prevent personnel being exposed to direct UV-C light.
- We are also able to create UV disinfection to conveyors so the surfaces of products can be disinfected as they move along the process
- We can also design disinfection cabinets and rooms for instruments, tools, products or returned goods, which work similarly to the disinfection of hospital equipment.
The above blend of solutions ensures that your air and surfaces are disinfected, helping to protect people to the highest level practicably achievable, when added to good management practices.