NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers use REACT’s specialist air hygiene team for all their ductwork and fire damper safety needs.
We’ve all learnt a lot over the past year. Many people have discovered what it’s like to work and/or teach at home. Some lessons have been more directly a result of Covid-19. The more we understand about the transmission of the virus, the more apparent it is that air hygiene is particularly important in the current circumstances. But even outside pandemic times, air quality is an important issue in all buildings. And when it comes to modern ventilation systems, it’s vital to maintain the fire safety of ductwork too. In this blog, we’re going to look at how we work with NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers to improve air hygiene and fire damper safety.
Air hygiene and fire damper safety go hand-in-hand
Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, it’s a legal obligation that all enclosed workplaces are ventilated with fresh, purified air. In areas where mechanical ventilation is provided, it must be inspected, cleaned and maintained at regular intervals. REACT’s specialist air hygiene team is highly experienced and skilled in the cleaning of all ductwork systems, fire damper testing and indoor air quality surveying.
For the healthcare sector, in particular, the hygiene and circulation of air are clearly important well beyond the pandemic. The challenge is adapting to the specific needs of a diverse estate. Facilities range from a small community GP surgery in a converted dwelling, through to a major, purpose-built hospital. Whatever the size and layout of the building, facilities managers need to keep air moving safely. With coverage across the United Kingdom, we work across the healthcare sector in all facilities. And we’re experts in relevant regulations, whether that’s the TR19 standard or the BS9999:2017 kitemark. We complete all work in accordance with these requirements, to ensure our healthcare clients are fully compliant. We’re going to focus on two key areas of our air hygiene and compliance service for hospitals: kitchen air hygiene, and fire damper testing.
Kitchen grease extractors can undermine air hygiene
One particularly important area of air hygiene in hospitals is kitchen extract and ducting systems. Poorly maintained kitchen grease extractors can severely undermine air hygiene standards. For some hospitals, these are full-service kitchens, where cooking from scratch takes place on-site. In other cases, kitchens will be cook-chill facilities, which heat up pre-prepared meals or ingredients. Regardless of the type of facility, hospitals need to think carefully about various elements of hygiene in kitchens, including air hygiene and extraction.
Moreover, failure to inspect and clean extract systems regularly can result in them becoming a fire risk. It’s not uncommon for systems laden with grease to ignite. Buildings insurance may be invalidated if an organisation has failed to carry out regular inspection and cleaning of grease extract systems. Our team successfully inspect and clean all such systems, helping clients remain compliant with the TR19 standard, to satisfy fire officers and insurers. We will happily work with any healthcare facility with kitchen extract and ducting systems to agree regular inspection and cleaning programmes, reducing health and safety risk.
Fire damper testing to achieve air hygiene compliance
Another key area of focus for our air hygiene team in the healthcare sector is fire dampers. In hospitals, there are usually a number of different systems aimed at reducing the risk of fire spreading throughout the building. fire dampers play a crucial role in the prevention of fires within ductwork systems. A properly functioning, well-maintained fire damper could be the difference between life and death in the event of fire in a building. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that fire dampers are inspected, tested and maintained on a regular basis.
The BS 9999:2017 legislation on fire damper maintenance states that all fire dampers must be tested by a competent person after they have been installed and at regular intervals not exceeding two years. For spring-operated fire dampers, tests must take place at least every 12 months. And they must occur even more frequently if they’re installed in an area that is affected by high levels of dust or pollution. We inspect and test fire dampers in accordance with the standards. Once again, we work with organisations throughout the healthcare sector to institute regular inspection and cleaning schedules and meet all regulatory requirements.
To find out more about REACT Specialist Cleaning and our air hygiene and fire damper compliance services for the healthcare sector, contact one of the team today.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of REACT Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.