Indoor air quality has always been an important part of occupational health and safety, but the pandemic has brought new attention to why indoor air quality is critical in the workplace. In fact, to address this issue, the recent U.S. stimulus package. includes $82 billion for facility upgrades, including ventilation and filtration systems to help improve indoor air quality and mitigate virus transmission. Use this guide to help your business start implementing the right infrastructure based on key guidelines for indoor air quality in the workplace.
A workplace study revealed an 8% productivity increase for study participants exposed to the highest ventilation rates, compared to the control group.
According to occupational health and safety regulations, the employer is responsible for making sure the workplace meets indoor air quality requirements. If the employer is a tenant within a building, they will have to work out indoor air quality responsibilities with the owner in the lease agreement. Part of this conversation is understanding how much control you have over HVAC systems. It’s important to be proactive about this: don’t make assumptions about air quality and get all your expectations on paper.
To help keep workplaces healthy, the CDC has created a Hierarchy of Controls. This hierarchy provides guidance on how to implement safer systems that reduce the risk of illness and injury. In this case, we’re applying the hierarchy to indoor air quality.
While elimination and substitution are highly effective at reducing risk, they are also the most difficult to implement—you can’t always eliminate the workplace or the people in it! Though, you do have command over the engineering controls you put in place to help improve air quality. Engineering controls protect workers by removing hazardous conditions or by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard. Even though this can require some upfront investment, engineered solutions like HVAC ventilation can be more cost effective than point solutions like personal protective equipment (PPE) over the longer term—and can even create cost savings, in addition to the productivity gains previously noted.
The CDC recommends starting with ventilation to dilute and remove airborne contaminants and then supplementing this air exchange with systems that can help kill viruses like SARS-CoV-2.
Tips for HVAC ventilation include:
In addition to ventilation, the CDC recommends portable air purifiers to kill pathogens and specifically points out the need to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. HEPA filters and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) are two CDC suggestions, but , these methods have limitations: filters only capture, they don’t kill; and UV devices are only effective when pathogens in the air pass by it, or are in its direct line of sight. So then, what about the air that’s not passing through this filter or equipment? This is where Pyure’s UV-generated hydroxyl technology can help.
Pyure technology offers both in-duct HVAC solutions and portable units to help purify the air and reduce viruses at the same time. Safe to operate 24/7 around people, Pyure can help cleanse the indoor air from pathogens, smoke, mold, odors through your existing HVAC system. While out of sight, Pyure helps clean the air and surfaces throughout the rooms in your facility. Pyure’s custom solutions can support large facilities with the help of built-in sensors and automation. For those who don’t have access to HVAC, wall-mounted or portable units are easy to plug and play.
As you look towards upgrading your facilities to improve indoor air quality, make sure you evaluate the right technologies to accomplish your goals.