Most office workers probably wouldn’t think twice about how the quality of air in their work environment is maintained. But actually, it is a legal requirement for managers and building owners to ensure that any enclosed workplaces are ventilated with fresh, purified air.
Providing fresh, purified air to the workplace is most likely to be achieved using an air conditioner or purification system. This device processes and distributes a large volume of air each day. As it does this, it also collects a significant amount of dust and other particles which can eventually build up if not cleaned regularly.
A build up of dust and dirt might not seem like a big deal, but this could potentially allow harmful bacteria to spread through the air management system. Sick building syndrome refers to symptoms you only get while in a particular building, such as an office. While it’s not exactly clear what causes sick building syndrome, the NHS claims that poor ventilation and poorly maintained air conditioning systems likely play a part.
In order to keep your air handling systems in top condition, it’s important they are monitored and cleaned in line with the guidance. Of course, this can be easier said than done due to the size and location of these systems.
So, what do you need to know in order to keep your air handling systems clean, safe, and legally compliant?
The guidance that governs best practice of air handling system cleaning to comply with the Workplace Regulations 1992 is called TR19. It was developed by the Building Engineering Services Association and states that ventilation systems must be regularly cleaned to meet standards set out by the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regs 1992 Section 6. It also requires building and facilities managers to keep good records showing evidence that the ductwork continues to meet the regulations.
Diligence is the key to compliance when it comes to TR19. Ducts and ventilation systems should be monitored, or cleaned to in accordance with the guidelines, preferably by a professional company, to aid the recordkeeping process.
When Rentokil Specialist Hygiene technicians carry out air handling system monitoring, they use a piece of equipment called an Elcometer 456 to measure the levels of dust in the system. The Elcometer 456 is a thickness gauge with a scan probe, providing accurate readings of a dry deposit thickness in air handling systems. Once these reading have been obtained, they are collated into a detailed, TR19 compliant report.
Images, schematic drawings and recommendations are also included within this report, which can then be used as evidence of monitoring and adherence with recognised standards.
In addition to being legally compliant, an air handling system cleaned to TR19 standard is more likely to ventilate fresh air, helping to improve the quality of air in the office which brings significant benefits. Higher air quality in offices has been shown to improve the productivity of workers in the buildings by up to 60%. Regular cleaning of ventilation systems will also improve their efficiency, helping to reduce costs associated with usage and maintenance.
If you think your air handling systems could benefit from a specialist cleaning service, consider booking in a free survey appointment with a local Rentokil Specialist Hygiene consultant