The last few years of living with a global pandemic has highlighted how viruses can take hold in confined spaces if there isn’t adequate ventilation. People are more at risk of picking up a virus when sharing a closed space with an infected person. But, how many Australian workplaces ensure there’s enough clean air flowing while people are working indoors?
We all know the benefits of fresh air, both indoors and outside. Ventilating indoor spaces help clean air circulate while keeping viruses and other germs at bay. Opening windows, installing skylights and roof ventilation systems and running a good HVAC unit all help to make your workplace safer.
What Happens When There is No Fresh Air Flow Indoors?
Keeping air flowing in confined spaces is essential for mitigating the risk of viruses, bacteria and allergens. Why? Let’s take a look at how a virus such as a coronavirus becomes contagious in places such as an open-plan office without any windows or ventilation systems in place.
Air is one of the most likely ways a virus is transmitted from person to person. Imagine being in an office, conference venue or hospital with little clean air flowing through. You’re in close confines with other people and you’re all breathing, in and out, the same air that keeps circulating around the room.
Someone in your shared space is infected with the virus, spreading tiny droplets and aerosols into the air every time they breathe out, sneeze, cough, talk or laugh! If this air isn’t being ventilated and continues to circulate in the same space, you’ve guessed it! You’re at higher risk of being exposed to and infected with the virus.
More research is needed to understand how viruses such as the coronavirus spread indoors. But, the general consensus is that keeping the air flowing in and out of closed spaces will ensure pathogens, allergens and other pesky bugs are removed.
Ventilation for Safer Workplaces: 3 Ways to Keep the Air Flowing
Keeping your workplace well-ventilated is essential if you want to reduce the number of staff taking sick leave because of the flu or some other virulent bug. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to improve indoor air quality.
1. Ventilation Systems
Ventilation systems include powerful fans and roof vents. Room and roof ventilators help to remove trapped air in the ceiling, and they’re also useful for rooms without any windows. The benefits of installing roof ventilation are numerous including:
- Keeping rooms temperate
- Less moisture build-up
- Decreased allergens and pathogens in closed spaces
Installing mechanical ventilation systems improves indoor air quality in places where there is little flow. They’re energy-efficient and easy to operate while making your workplace a safe and more congenial working environment for employees.
2. Upgrading to HEPA Air Filters
Most office buildings have an HVAC unit for heating and cooling indoor spaces. A highly efficient air conditioning unit with HEPA filters will help to improve the air quality by removing small particles that may pose a health risk.
Portable HEPA air filtering devices are useful for keeping the air clean while it circulates the room, often with the use of an HVAC unit. However, they’re only efficient if they can handle the number of people sharing a confined space and the source of air.
It all comes down to keeping the air as clean as possible on a continual basis when trying to reduce pathogens in the room. Getting the right size HEPA air filter is key to the successful removal of offending particles from the air.
3. Monitoring the CO2 Levels in Confined Spaces
Monitoring indoor CO2 levels is a way of determining whether you need to improve ventilation. The higher the CO2, the poorer the flow of air in a room which increases the chances of being exposed to an infectious virus.
A high reading of CO2 levels is an indication that relevant action needs to take place. These could include:
- Reducing the number of occupants in the space
- Opening up windows, doors, air vents or vented skylights
- Replacing air filters
Bringing in fresh, outdoor air will improve the indoor CO2 levels while decreasing the infection risks associated with pathogens.
Creating a safe workplace is essential for happier employees and improved productivity. Keeping fresh air flowing in indoor spaces with ventilation methods is one way of ensuring your workers have a clean and healthy working environment. Give our experts at Solatube a call on 13 16 19 and let us assist you to keep the air flowing in your building—all for a safer AND more productive workplace.