One of the most overlooked elements of completing construction or renovation projects is the dust and debris that become airborne. Dust can comprise various harmful particles, such as aerosols or bacteria. Debris can be any number of construction materials that you would not want patients, staff, or construction teams to inhale.
When completing a construction project, the safety and quality of the facility's air should be top of mind. Removing airborne pollutants allows construction crews to operate safely and patients, students, and others to be in the healthiest environment possible. Safe air quality also equips areas to comply with dust containment regulations and protocols. You can achieve this level of safety by introducing HEPA filters and proper dust containment methods.
Eliminating Dust Matters
Dust can harbor microorganisms that survive for extended periods and quickly spread to surfaces. Dusty rooms create sickness and infection, especially when renovation projects kick up debris that would otherwise have settled onto surfaces. When this happens, it can also spread through HVAC units, contaminating the rest of the facility and creating more harm by not containing particulates.
In hospitals, strict dust containment regulations exist to support this level of protection. Dust and debris from construction and maintenance projects can lead to serious patient health issues. Neglecting to clean accumulated dust over time can result in the development of rare lung diseases and other complications for everyone — patients and staff alike.
What to Know About HEPA Filtration
Eliminating dust through filtration is crucial in hospitals, particularly for immunocompromised patients. One of the most effective ways to filter the air in facilities is with the help of HEPA filters. HEPA stands for High-efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters are designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns with an efficiency of 99.97%. HEPA filters are also uniquely suited for medical spaces where airborne particles are likely to harbor dangerous or disease-causing particles.
When searching for true HEPA filters, you must ensure that they meet, at minimum, the HEPA filtration standards to guarantee optimal filtration performance. Suppose your facility or a particular section of your facility needs the highest level of filtration. In that case, consider the next step, a medical-grade HEPA filter.
Medical-grade filtration captures 99.99% of airborne particulates but can reliably capture and lock away particles as small as .03 microns. These tiny particles are hard to capture, and HEPA filters excel at capturing those particles.
When looking for a HEPA filter for your facility, one important element to consider is to be wary of any filters claiming to be "HEPA-like" or "HEPA-style." HEPA certification is something that a filter either has or does not have. Anything other than HEPA certification or the upgraded medical-grade HEPA filtration is marketing jargon used to sway your decision. Make sure that your facility prioritizes using true HEPA filters.
Understanding the Risks of Airborne Particles
Dust particles in the air and on surfaces are a reality of construction and renovation projects. Still, the risks to your facility staff and the patients inside require your utmost attention and concern to maintain their safety.
When dust is allowed to accumulate in your medical facility, these potentially harmful particulates contribute to the spread of illnesses and irritate sensitive patient populations. Even the infrastructure of your facility is negatively impacted when dust gets out of hand. When airborne particles are not sufficiently filtered out, your HVAC units must work overtime to compensate and will likely need to be serviced or replaced more frequently.
Taking proactive measures to address dust and maintain clean air can help mitigate these risks and protect your facility's and its occupants' well-being.
How You Can Prioritize Health and Safety In Your Facility
There are two main considerations when looking at how to implement dust containment at our facility best: efficacy and comfort.
One of the most important to the conversation around creating a healthy environment and limiting dust particles in the air of your medical facility is the effectiveness of your methods. First, you must remove patients and staff from areas where construction activities will occur. It is vital that construction areas are properly separated and closed off to avoid the dust and debris from spreading.
In addition to restricting and closing the space, negative air machines are a great tool to ensure that airborne particles do not escape the sealed area. Combining these two methods allows your air filtration system to function more effectively.
Dust containment measures often introduce noise pollution and may require rerouting pedestrian traffic in your facility. While necessary, these changes cause inconveniences for everyone involved, and any opportunity to minimize these discomforts is ideal.
Use portable dust containment units that can effectively maintain open passageways and unobstructed room access throughout the hospital. In smaller spaces, the negative air machine can operate with reduced power, lowering noise levels while maintaining the necessary containment features.
The Ideal Solution
The ultimate tool for facilities managers during a construction project is your air filtration equipment, mainly when using HEPA-certified machinery. The right choice of filtration systems will help air filtration, quiet operation, and readiness to move with ease.
Take Control of Your Indoor Air Quality
Protecting fresh air in the facility for the safety and well-being of patients and workers and dealing with dust and debris will decide the overall health. When considering the risks of pollutants, it will become clear that air filtration is critical for any medical facility.
o ensure that your machines are of the highest quality available. Explore our full suite of HEPA-certified equipment to provide your facility with the highest possible indoor air quality levels. Still, trying to figure out what will work best? Take control of your IAQ with the help of our detailed guide to help you make the most informed choice.