Infectious Disease Control Measures are an essential part of our process during hospital projects. What do those measures entail? Well, a lot of things. Here are just 5 of our top measures broken down for you. Let us know if you have questions.
1) Containment Areas
Properly blocking off and barricading work spaces is one of the most important measures taken during a hospital renovation. Harmon utilizes floor to deck temporary wall partitions to fully seal off an area that will be undergoing construction activities. Typically, thick plastic barriers with zippered doors can be utilized on small/short duration projects. While on larger areas, temporary walls constructed of metal framing and gypsum drywall are more practical. For long term projects, the metal frame and drywall option will be more durable. Typically we will place 2 doors in these temporary wall partitions for compliance with 2 means of egress. Utilizing barriers constructed of gypsum wallboard, metal studs, and standard interior doors provides Harmon a space that can be secured when the job site is down, which limits risks of theft and injuries. Containing the construction site is important for safety of workers, patients wandering into construction areas, as well as to prevent dust from spreading into the hospital.
2) Negative Air Pressure
In most cases, when performing construction activities, construction workers can generate a considerable amount of dust. For the safety of the hospital and patients, we create negative pressure air so the space under construction is actually pulling air from the hospital instead of pushing air into the hospital. These negative air machines contain HEPA filters and filter the air and are routed to the outside of the hospital through an exhaust duct via a window or other means. The size of the machine selected and used is based on the size of the space and CFM required. One caveat to this is that certain areas of the hospital are sterile processing areas and are required to be under Positive air pressure. These areas are the exception to the rule and should not be placed under negative air pressure.
3) Closing off Return and Supply Air Vents
Another important measure in control infections in hospital construction is to isolate the renovation space from the main building’s HVAC system. All return air vents are to be closed, taped, or blocked off as to keep any dust generated in the construction zone from being circulated and entering the rest of the hospital. All supply vents should be disconnected as well, if possible. This will help with the negative air pressure of the space and keep dust contained to the area of construction. This is a measure that requires a common sense approach. In some regions, extreme cold or hot weather may not allow for disconnecting of the supply vents because of freezing/overheating risks. These risks are understandable and can be overcome with a larger negative air machine to offset the supply CFM entering the space.
4) Dust Control
Another good practice for preventing dust from spreading into the floor areas of the hospital is to keep a clean jobsite. Utilize HEPA filtered shop vacuums; they filter most of the air particulates to keep down the dust. Also, Harmon dry mops the area at mid day and end of business and follows that with a wet mop depending on the current construction activities. This process keeps floors clean and minimizes dust/debris on workers shoes and the chance of tracking that through the hospital. At construction entrances, we utilize a dry mop, wet mop, and provide walk off mats. Harmon requires workers to wipe their feet on a dry rug then a wet rug, and then a sticky mat prior to exiting the space. These mats have a sticky side that workers and roll carts pass over on the way in and out of the space which pulls dirt and debris into the mat. Depending on current construction activities within the space, these mops and mats require more or less frequent changing and attention. The best entrance/exit of a space would be through stairwells, in most cases. This helps to minimize tracking dirt throughout the entire hospital and limit the steady stream of workers going in and out all day from disrupting day to day hospital activities.
5) Trash/Debris Removal
The best practice for removing debris from a work space is to utilize a trash chute from a window that leads directly to a dumpster. Any debris going down the chute should be kept wet in order to minimize dust. Minimizing dust from the debris will keep the outside air vents of the buildings taking the air back in the hospital clean. If this option is not available, covered rolling dumpsters are utilized. Using covered dumpsters helps to prevent dust coming off the debris as it is wheeled through the hospital on its way to the outside disposal location.
These are just a few, but very important, aspects of our infectious control measures at Harmon. We’d love to discuss how Harmon can help with your next project. Give us a call at 913.962.5888 or contact us here.