In sensitive environments such as hospitals, production facilities and laboratories, containment of dust and debris during building maintenance projects is crucial. Renovation, construction and installation projects are ongoing in busy facilities and these projects stir up dust which can carry harmful particles. In order to make sure dangerous pathogens are not able to travel into occupied areas, proper containment methods must be used. Why?
Containment in Healthcare Facilities
In healthcare facilities, the biggest reason is healthcare associated infections (HAIs). They are among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States and are associated with a substantial increase in health care costs each year.
Facts about HAIs in relation to maintenance work
– 110,000 deaths are caused by healthcare associated infections in the US each year and 5 % of these deaths are directly associated with construction or maintenance work
– Construction, renovation and installation of services can cause fungal aerosol pollution which can lead to invasive Aspergillosis. Aspergillosis is a condition where pneumonia, caused by inhaling Aspergillus, travels to other organs in the body. Mortality rates with this condition are high, particularly in patients or people with compromised immune systems. This is why it’s vital to always evaluate and manage all risks to patients and building occupants
Containment in Commercial Facilities
Why is containment important in laboratories and sensitive production facilities? The best place to find an environmental pollutant is in an analytical laboratory. That being said, one of the most common concerns associated with sample collection and analysis is the possibility of sample contamination. The single most important thing that contributes to contamination in laboratories is dust. In order to prevent dust from contaminating samples and sensitive work spaces, containment procedures must be used during construction and maintenance work.
Dust and infection control should not be overlooked by maintenance personnel and contractors working in facilities. When you allow dust to spread into occupied areas, it can not only cause problems for building occupants, it can end up costing the facility more money due to increased patient care, tainted lab results, or production losses in a sensitive manufacturing facilities.
Completing an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA), maintaining negative pressure in your work area, and/or using a mobile containment unit are all steps toward proper dust and infection control. Educating yourself and others about proper containment can also prevent contamination issues at your facility.