Improving workplace ventilation to prevent COVID-19 spread
Since the beginning of the pandemic, safety measures have been developed by health authorities to reduce COVID-19 transmissions at the workplace. In previous blogs, we have shared some of the best practices to protect employees and work areas and keep you informed on the latests updates regarding new regulations for workplace safety specifically for COVID-19.
Recently, OSHA released safety guidance on how employers can improve ventilation conditions at their workplaces, so they can ensure a safe and healthy workplace for employees.
As we have learned, the COVID-19 virus commonly spreads when someone is in contact with droplets from infected people while coughing, sneezing, or talking. However, recent investigations suggest that smaller COVID-19 particles can travel longer distances in enclosed and poorly ventilated indoor spaces such as restaurants, fitness centers, churches, and offices. Therefore, the need to review workplace safety ventilation standards.
Based on OSHA and CDC guidelines, we have summarized our key findings for how to better ventilate your office and prevent COVID-19 spread at your workplace:
- Increase fresh air circulation by opening windows, doors and using fans. Evaluate this practice only if it does not represent a risk for employees, including falls or exposure to breathing outdoor environmental contaminants.
- Remove or change the position of personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.
- Make sure all heating, ventilation and air conditioner systems (HVAC) are in good conditions, and give maintenance regularly. Also, you can consult an expert in HVAC systems to improve ventilation in the office based on environmental conditions.
- For shared work areas with higher risk, you can consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air filters systems or fans (HEPA) to clean air.
- Use proper PPE for respiration and eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles, or face shields when changing air filters.
- Air conditioner systems installed in restrooms should run at maximum capacity.
- Remember encouraging employees to stay at home if they feel sick frequently.
Kwame helps to prevent potential COVID-19 outbreaks at your workplace with Contact Tracing functionality. If someone is diagnosed positive for COVID-19, our technology allows you to trace where the employee was, identify who they may have come into contact with and classify all employees into 3 groups of risk and take action to prevent spread.