On March 18th, 2020 AiCARR released on its website the document “Protocol for risk reduction of SARS-CoV2-19 diffusion in dealthcare facilities with the aid of air-conditioning and ventilation systems”. This new protocol is intended to complement the previous on for aspects relating to healthcare environments. The document is available for download here.
The Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) has published recommendations for operating air conditioning and ventilation systems during the coronavirus. The document is available for download here
AiCARR has released its position on HVAC system operation during SARS-COVID-19 emergency. The document is available for download here.
For the October 2020 issue of the REHVA Journal, IEQ-GA will work together with REHVA to collect technical articles to create a special COVID-19 edition of the journal.
Please, submit your articles by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline 17 September 2020. Please remember to check the REHVA Journal guidelines for authors before submitting your article
On April 3, REHVA updated its COVID-19 guidance document with the following revisions and additions:
- Latest information on the airborne transmission and implications to HVAC systems was added;
- Ventilation continuous operation guidelines were updated to be explicit;
- SARS-CoV-2 stability data at different temperatures and relative humidity was added;
- Heat recovery equipment guidance was revised including the recommendation of inspection;
- Guidance for room level circulation units was complemented;
- HVAC maintenance personnel protection recommendation was added;
- A summary of 14 points of practical measures for building services operation was added.
ASHRAE announced a Society-wide effort to respond to the current global COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance on how to ensure that buildings are prepared for future epidemics.
The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been established to help deploy ASHRAE’s technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission in healthcare facilities, the workplace, home, public and recreational environments. The task force will also provide recommendations for setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centers, arenas and indoor stadia to deal with surges.
The primary role of the task force is to maintain communication with members, industry partners, building owners, facility operators, government agencies and the general public…
During the present global disease pandemic, a time which is unique to the world and its global communities, our risk assessments need to continue to be comprehensive, thorough, and appropriately vetted.
As stewards to occupational health and safety professionals around the globe, ACGIH® leadership feels compelled to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of our members, supporters, and the public at large. Therefore, on March 12th, ACGIH® made the difficult decision to cancel all large in-person events through at least the summer of 2020. Moreover, our decision to cancel in-person events also includes our involvement in large gatherings hosted by other organizations.
ACGIH® has been a contractual sponsor and exhibitor at the AIHce conference for many years. However, given current and reliably forecasted health and safety circumstances, ACGIH® has made the decision to not attend the 2020 AIHce in the near term at any level for in-person activities. We sincerely value our relationship with AIHA and have offered partnership collaboration in future endeavors – including support of an entirely virtual conference this year or other educational opportunities reinforced by social and physical distancing measures.
As we all learn to navigate our changing roles in the environmental health and safety community during this time, ACGIH® is here to support you in your professional endeavors. With the decision to cancel our in-person meetings, we have also begun development on new and exciting distance learning opportunities. ACGIH® is focused on enacting responsive, immediate actions that will serve environmental health and safety professionals looking to Define Your Future.
The HVAC systems in most non-medical buildings play only a small role in infectious disease transmission, including COVID-19. Knowledge is emerging about COVID-19, the virus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2), and how the disease spreads. Reasonable, but not certain, inferences about spread can be drawn from the SARS outbreak in 2003 (a virus genetically similar to SARS-CoV-2) and, to a lesser extent, from transmission of other viruses. Preliminary research has been recently released, due to the urgent need for information, but it is likely to take years to reach scientific consensus.
Even in the face of incomplete knowledge, it is critically important for all of us, especially those of us in positions of authority and influence, to exercise our collective responsibility to communicate and reinforce how personal choices about social distancing and hygiene affect the spread of this disease and its impact not just on ourselves, but on our societal systems and economy. The consequences of overwhelming the capacity of our health-care systems are enormous and potentially tragic. The sooner we “flatten the curve,” the sooner we can return to safer and normal economic and personal lives.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), “The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes….” Talking and breathing can also release droplets and particles. Droplets generally fall to the ground or other surfaces in about 1 m (3 ft), while particles (aka aerosols), behave more like a gas and can travel through the air for longer distances, where they can transmit to people and also settle on surfaces. The virus can be picked up by hands that touch contaminated surfaces (called fomite transmission) or be re-entrained into the air when disturbed on surfaces…
AIHA represents industrial hygienists and occupational health and safety scientists who play vital roles on the front lines of public health emergencies, such as the novel coronavirus. Some of the ways AIHA members help control the spread of highly infectious diseases include:
- Selecting appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Providing training on proper techniques for putting on and removing PPE.
- Determining whether certain types of PPE and other equipment should be discarded or if it can be reused after proper cleaning.
- Selecting and providing training on the use of decontamination chemicals and techniques.
- Managing waste that is known or is suspected to contain an infectious substance.
- Educating (or training) employers, employees, the media, policymakers, and the public to understand risks.
- Creating or revisiting plans to manage the fatigue of healthcare and other workers who may be working long hours.
To help protect workers, their families, and communities, AIHA has created a Coronavirus Outbreak Resource Center at http://bit.ly/AIHACOVID19 and maintains a robust Consultants Listing of professionals who specialize in proper PPE fit testing, exposure assessment, incidence response and preparedness and many more scientific activities that protect workers and the public. Together, these resources provide powerful tools to help combat this global pandemic. To learn more about AIHA visit https://www.aiha.org/about-aiha.
As the world reacts to the current environment being created by Coronavirus, ACGIH® is here to help navigate any changes or new challenges this presents to you and your professional career.
We’ve expanded access to several benefits to help you navigate through Coronavirus in your role as a safety and health professional:
- ACGIH®’s Infectious Disease Handbook for Emergency Care Personnel, 3rd Edition is now 50% off with the code: ACGIH50
- All Prerecorded Webinars are now also 50% off with the same code: ACGIH50
- Next month we are offering a complimentary Webinar: Updates to the 2020 ACGIH®TLVs®and BEIs® Book. If you haven’t already obtained your copy of this year’s Book, you can order it now for delivery prior to the webinar. As a reminder, all members receive this book, complimentary with their membership, so consider membership today to access this benefit.
- We’ve also developed a web page that aggregates Coronavirus intelligence that may be helpful when navigating changes to your current role. We will be supporting this web page in real time with updated, relevant information as it becomes available. You can access it here.
As we navigate this new terrain, ACGIH® is here with resources to support you professionally. If there is anything else we can do, please do not hesitate to reach out to ACGIH® headquarters at email@example.com.