Ranking Risks: Ventilation and Infection Control

By Dan Hounsell
June 2, 2021

Facilities managers in all types of facilities have had to pay closer attention in the last year to the risks that HVAC systems in their facilities present to occupants and visitors. The challenge is more complex for managers in healthcare facilities because system operations — especially ventilation — can present greater risk to compromised patients than other areas.

Risk-ranking the criticality of each space in healthcare facilities with required temperature, pressure and humidity will guide the testing procedures and excursion response times, according to Health Facilities Management. A ventilation management committee should take the responsibility of establishing time frames for testing procedures and response times.

For example, the pressure, temperature and humidity within an operating room might be ranked by the VMC as a Category 1 risk. But in a clean utility room, the pressure might be ranked a Category 2, and the temperature and humidity might be ranked a Category 4, since the pressurization is critical but not life-threatening, and the temperature and humidity would have no effect on a patient. Once space element criteria are ranked, the risk ranking can help determine testing frequencies and response times.

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