Is following the governments advice enough? It’s all good and well washing hands regularly and sneezing into your elbow but is there anything further we can feasibly do to protect our office spaces and workforces? The simple answer is yes there is actually a lot of cost-effective equipment that could be put in place quickly and easily to actively assist in lowering or eliminating the viral risk in offices and shared spaces.
More air changes, more ventilation, whether this is in the form of opening windows or increased mechanical ventilation, diluting the viral load with this method will lower the risk but obviously not eliminate it and does nothing for anything that may be hiding on surfaces, door handles, keyboards or other office equipment with a surface capable of transferring pathogens between individuals.
Air Filtration, again similar to above, anything captured in the filter will be removed and eliminated providing the filtration is up to the correct standard. HEPA filters should be of medical grade H14 as a consumer we need to be wary of products marketed that are below this standard that only of use as a placebo. Effective as this method is potentially this is only filtering the air moved through the unit surface contaminants are left in place.
Air Treatment, this is usually done with a combination of filter and ultra violet (UV) lamp again only treating the airborne issues not the surfaces, there is also the issue of Ozone being produced by the ultra violet, which whilst being a virus combating method in itself is not good while a room is occupied.
Air and Surface Treatment, this is by far the most effective method for treating all manner of smells, viruses, volatile organic compounds and all other airborne and surface contaminants. This type of unit utilises either O³ (Ozone) or OH (Hydroxyl)
Ozone, Ozone is created when the kind of oxygen we breathe O² is split apart into single oxygen atoms. Single oxygen atoms can re-join to make O², or they can join with O² molecules to make ozone (O³) when the energy is available to do so. Ozone breaks down when it reacts with other compounds, harmful viruses included. The machines that produce Ozone in higher effective concentrations must be used in unoccupied spaces, high concentrations of Ozone can cause issues with the respiratory system, with this said they are extremely effective at sanitising a space (airborne and surfaces) after a manual clean down. They can be deployed effectively in hotels, hospital environments, doctors / dentist surgeries, car showrooms when unoccupied leaving the air and surfaces fully decontaminated.
Hydroxyl, machines utilising this technology are by far the most effective and user friendly, firstly because they’re more adaptable and easily integrate into our normal daily lives. Much like the Ozone units, a volatile OH compound is produced which reacts with all airborne contaminants. The OH compound reacts by oxidising and this cascade reaction will continue until the area is free of contaminants, the OH particles will then simply become H²O once there is nothing left to react with. Leaving windows open will actually amplify the effect of the Hydroxyl unit, more humidity from outside air will create more oxidisation and further Hydroxyl production. Hydroxyl units are safe for use in constantly occupied rooms and will provide the constant decontamination required in a busy office.
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