One of the primary reasons for installing an HVLS fan is to adhere to federal standards and industry safety guidelines. HVLS fans can provide compliance win-win outcomes for both your industry regulators and your organization. Even when standards grow and change, most guidelines don’t stray too far from their origins, but pivoting quickly when mass safety issues (such as unexpected public health concerns) occur can call for costly, unexpected adjustments.
So, how do you know if you are meeting new compliance standards? Two good starting points are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) websites — or reading this blog. The better news is, if you already have an HVLS fan installed, it is likely running compliance interference for you already.
OSHA and ASHRAE Overview
In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that created OSHA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. Through this organization, guidelines were quickly put into place to protect all working individuals from unsafe work environments. Today, through workplace inspections and training programs, OSHA keeps facilities and offices abreast of any regulation changes as they occur, and enforces compliance.
ASHRAE exists to advance human well-being globally with a focus on items such as building systems and indoor air quality. Unlike OSHA, ASHRAE is not a government agency or organization, however, for members, adherence to the Code of Ethics requires a commitment to enhancing public health, safety, and welfare.
Here are the most recent regulation and standard updates for each organization:
OSHA’s most recent regulations have occured since the inauguration of President Biden and fall in line with the executive order issued on January 21, 2021. This executive order places a heavy emphasis on workplace safety for healthcare, frontline workers, and mitigating the transmission of COVID-19, however, this order will also serve to protect vulnerable populations against any communicable disease and against employer retaliation for requested accommodations.
Need To Know
Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety:
This executive order is based on the 1970 bill and will be overseen by the Secretary of Labor, and includes the following mandates:
- Revising mandates on workplace safety measures and consideration of emergency standards.
- Identifying changes to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement.
- Launching a national program for OSHA enforcement efforts related to COVID-19 on violations putting the largest number of workers at risk or countering anti-retaliation principles.
- Conducting a multilingual outreach campaign informing workers of their rights under applicable law.
- Coordinating with states with approved OSHA plans to ensure workers are protected from COVID-19 and consult with state/local governments to bolster protection for public sector workers.
National Emphasis Program (NEP):
Having gone into effect on March 12, 2021, the NEP is a tangible product of the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety and augments OSHA’s efforts to address COVID-19-related activities such as complaints and severe incident reporting by targeting high-hazard industries and activities. Goals include:
- Reducing or eliminating COVID exposure high-exposure industries and facilities (healthcare in particular).
- Performing COVID-19 facility inspections, with this program covering at least 5% of total inspection goals.
- Following up on previously inspected workplaces.
Most of the adjustments to ASHRAE’s guidelines recently have been focused around air quality and combating the transition of COVID-19. The guidelines are primarily focused on individual facility types (e.g. laboratories, small temporary dining structures, polling places, and educational facilities). However, the overall theme is controlling infectious aerosols and aligning guidelines with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Public Health (DPH).
Need To Know
Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure
- Follow all regulatory and statutory requirements.
- Provide and maintain at least minimum outdoor airflow rates.
- Select air control options that provide exposure reduction while minimizing energy consumption.
- For air distribution, mix air without causing strong air currents.
Infections Aerosols and Air Quality
This document offers more detailed recommendations, however, here are a few implementation notes:
- Facility types face varying deficits in air quality. Researching your industry, facility type, and air quality concerns is important in meeting ASHRAE standards.
- Be proactive in ventilation and air cleansing strategies. Considering air distribution patterns and controlling temperature and relative humidity (RH) are a start.
- Because research shows that controlled (RH) reduces transmission of certain airborne infectious organisms, including some strains of influenza, give careful consideration to temperature and RH.
Regardless of the catalyst for these updated recommendations, they are likely here to stay and an HVLS fan can handle the hurdles of the most complicated requirements with cost efficiency. We’d love to discuss in detail the ways an HVLS fan can help you navigate current and future compliance concerns. You can find us at 1-844-591-3267 or on our website.