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Protect Workers with Airflow – COVID-19

April 10, 2020

Essential businesses and services remain open during the coronavirus, putting workers at heightened risk along with customers.

Protect workers by increasing airflow and filtration.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has released guidelines in support of this measure which advises:

Engineering Controls
Engineering controls involve isolating employees from work-related hazards. In workplaces where they are appropriate, these types of controls reduce exposure to hazards without relying on worker behavior and can be the most cost-effective solution to implement. Engineering controls for SARS-CoV-2 include:
■Installing high-efficiency air filters.
■Increasing ventilation rates in the work environment.
■Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards.
■Installing a drive-through window for customer service.
■Specialized negative pressure ventilation in some settings, such as for aerosol generating procedures (e.g., airborne infection isolation rooms in healthcare settings and specialized autopsy suites in mortuary settings).

Source: Pages 12-13, Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, OSHA 3990-03 2020, https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

My last blog article (Turn up the HVAC v. COVID-19) discussed how small businesses can reduce risk simply by keeping doors and windows open and using fans if available.

Essential businesses are a weak link in the effort to flatten the curve and prevent new cases. Do not assume that your local grocery store, market, bicycle shop, or even hospital is doing what it can to keep the infectious particles containing the virus from moving out of our breathing space. Without airflow they can persist for three hours or more.

Help get the word out to reduce the spread of virus by increasing airflow!

#COVID19 #microparticles #coronavirus #pandemic #globalhealth


Meggs holds a Master’s in Public Health (Environmental Health Sciences Division) from the University of California at Berkeley.

 

 

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