20 August 2020

A step back to welcoming back!

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The summertime is over, but Covid is not! Despite COVID-19 remaining a significant threat to human health, schools are reopening in many countries. Many companies have welcomed back employees to work in the office! But as an employee, how can we minimize the risk factors?

A few months back, the European Union published general guidance for the safe return to the workplace *, in which they referred to this helpful OSHWIKI page. On this page, there is a whole section about minimizing exposure to COVID-19 at work.

You can find useful tips from the page, such as spending a fair amount of time cleaning surfaces, distancing yourself from others, etc. However, it is shocking that the word ventilation was used only once in the whole document!

“Supply soap and water or appropriate hand sanitizer at convenient places and advise workers to wash their hands frequently. Clean your premises frequently, especially counters, door handles, tools, and other surfaces that people often touch and provide good ventilation if possible. “

But what is “good ventilation”? “if possible”? Isn’t that a bit vague?

How do we define proper ventilation in the times of a pandemic?

Many of us heard that we should act as if the virus is an airborne transmitted infection and, respectively, take necessary actions to avoid or minimize the risks! In such a case, ventilation plays a huge role! Since HVAC systems in buildings can be different, buildings require various measures on their HVAC performance in times like this.

As the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) points out, “It is crucial to note that each HVAC system needs to be analyzed for the appropriate engineering controls to utilize to improve its potential to reduce virus transmission in the building. “

We, at SALLY R, believe breathing clean air is a human right! We encourage employers to re-assess the risks in their work environment, pay special attention to their ventilation system, and adapt suitable filtration or HVAC strategies.

Besides, we encourage every employee to demand excellent communication from their employer regarding workplace safety measures!

Take care, and stay safe!

Ida Iranmanesh,
Research & Innovation Scientist at SALLY R 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_729

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