Did you know ventilation is one of the top ways of mitigating COVID-19 risk at your manufacturing facility? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions ventilation as part of their Critical Infrastructure Guidance. If you’re a member of your company’s facility management team, the CDC’s guidelines may be helpful amid the COVID 19 pandemic.
The CDC’s Critical Infrastructure Guidance
Many manufacturing facilities have been identified by the federal government as part of the critical sector. The CDC has put together a guide for those facilities known as the Critical Infrastructure Guidance. Even if your manufacturing facility hasn’t been identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of the critical manufacturing sector, your building could still benefit from the CDC’s recommendations. The CDC says the guidance, “is intended to assist with the assessment of risk and application of work restrictions for critical infrastructure workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, but are not experiencing and have not tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.”
The CDC does mention facilities outside of the critical manufacturing sector should follow the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure if an employee has potentially contracted COVID-19.
The CDC’s Suggested COVID-19 Response Plan
The CDC’s COVID-19 plan includes recommendations on how to maintain critical business operations during the pandemic, how to reduce transmission among employees and the public, and ways to maintain a healthy workplace.
The CDC recommendations include ensuring sick leave policies encourage staff who may have contracted COVID-19 to stay at home instead of still coming into work, minimizing the number of workers at job sites, ensuring employees are wearing masks, promoting proper hand washing, and implementing social distancing policies.
As for the physical facility itself, the CDC suggests following an approach known as the hierarchy of controls for infection prevention. According to the CDC, “this approach groups actions by their effectiveness in reducing or removing hazards. In most cases, the preferred approach is to eliminate a hazard or processes; install engineering controls; and implement appropriate cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection practices to reduce exposure or shield workers.”
The CDC suggests facility leaders enforce social distancing protocols and to increase the cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and objects. The guidelines also say facilities maintenance staff should find ways to enhance ventilation by increasing air exchanges in rooms. Air exchange refers to the air being replaced in a room. One of the best ways to achieve this is through high volume, low speed (HVLS) fans.
High volume low speed (HVLS) fans help keep your facility’s air healthy
HVLS fans can increase airflow supply within your building, which can drastically improve your ventilation and air quality. Through their large blades and slow speed, HVLS fans quietly and effectively move the air throughout your facility. This helps circulate outside air into your facility and helps eliminate stagnant, unhealthy air from the building. As an added bonus, HVLS fans also save your facility money and increase productivity.