Workplace Ventilation during Cold Weather and Resources to Optimize Indoor Environmental Conditions
Clark Seif Clark provides ventilation assessments and indoor air quality testing, consulting and training services to help prevent the spread of infections and enhance working conditions during the winter months.
Last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an OSHA Alert about improving workplace ventilation during the cold winter months. A key focal point of the announcement emphasized indoor air quality (IAQ) during cold weather and how it is especially critical when influenza, cold and COVID-19 viruses are circulating in the workplace.
Key steps to improve ventilation listed by OSHA include:
· Inspecting air intake and exhaust ports to ensure they are clean and free of ice or snow.
· Replacing filters as necessary to ensure the proper function of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
· Having an HVAC professional conduct all regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance.
· Adding portable air cleaners with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in spaces with high occupancy or limited ventilation.
OSHA also states that while building managers may perform some steps to improve indoor air, others should be conducted by qualified HVAC professionals. These include:
· Ensuring all HVAC systems are operating in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and design specifications.
· Maximizing the amount of outdoor air supplied consistent with the heating capacity of the HVAC system. Rebalancing or adjusting HVAC systems to increase total airflow to occupied spaces.
· Installing air filters with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) 13 (or equivalent) or higher where feasible. If MERV-13 filters are not compatible with the HVAC system, use filters with the highest compatible filtering efficiency for the HVAC system.
· Cleaning HVAC system drain pans, heating and cooling coils, and supply/return registers to eliminate areas where contaminants can settle.
“Frigid outdoor conditions can bring challenges for building owners and managers when it comes to balancing outdoor air ventilation rates, energy costs, air mixing, air filtration, HVAC system maintenance, building occupant comfort and infection control efforts,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality for Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “At CSC, our industrial hygiene, indoor air quality and infection control professionals offer worksite assessments, ventilation inspections, air testing, monitoring and training services to optimize indoor air quality conditions in any season.”
CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about improving workplace ventilation during cold weather that can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i993m3vDKks.
To learn more about this or other IAQ, building science, occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.csceng.com, email email@example.com or call (800) 807-1118.
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.