Feature by James Miller, Director at Dustcontrol UK

How industrial air cleaners can help limit the spread of airborne coronavirus particles in the workplace

Since its outbreak in late 2019, the coronavirus pandemic swept rapidly across the globe, closing borders, restricting movement of populations, shutting businesses, and infecting almost 236 million people. The UK has had the greatest infection rate in Europe, with more than 7.9 million cases and 137,000 lives claimed by the virus.

Virologists soon found the virus could be transmitted through droplets when a person coughs, sneezes or talks, and by breathing in air that contains the coronavirus particles. Scientists also found the particles could live in the atmosphere for up to three hours, being easily inhaled into the lungs by those in proximity to someone infected.

In working environments such as the timber industry, workers typically operate in spaces that are susceptible to spreading the virus. Throughout the pandemic, undiagnosed positive workers and a severe lack or disregard of PPE have made the situation even more challenging.

It is important, therefore, that the air in these environments is clean and free of any airborne particles to help limit the spread of infection. In accordance with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, in buildings where windows do not open and the ventilation system functions in a closed circuit, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration should be used for the recycled air.

At Dustcontrol UK, we have been supplying our powerful HEPA-13 filtered air cleaners to workplace environments across all sectors, having been tested to capture at least 99.95 per cent of particles between 0.15 to 0.3 micrometres. The industrial-strength DC AirCube range comprises of mobile, quiet-running, single-phase, continuous rated motors that have been specifically built to reduce the risk of respiratory problems by filtering air of harmful particles. In addition, to relieve the HEPA filter, the AirCubes are also equipped with a simpler pre-filter (class G3) to capture larger particles.

The DC AirCube 2000 is our most powerful single-phase air cleaner with a capacity of 1800m3/hr. It comprises an energy saving ECO-fan, a pre-filter, a HEPA H13 microfilter of 10m2, a filter indication lamp, and variable speed transmission to save energy consumption. The robust machine's ergonomic design also makes it easy to carry and transport.

It has the capability to clean air from hazardous particles including silica dust, wood dust and airborne viruses such as coronavirus. This is achieved through regularly cleaning the air to reduce the spread of particulate, making the machine a favourite for timber worksite areas, as well as in their receptions, canteens, and, in light of the Covid-19 situation, changing facilities.

Cleaned air can also be recirculated back into specific work rooms or exhausted via a hose to create a negative pressure environment. This is where air is HEPA filtered then exhausted outside by using, for example, a portable HEPA filtered air cleaner. By doing this, you significantly limit the spread of particles back into other areas of the building and worksite.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also suggests placing temporary HEPA filters over the vents and exhausts in areas with a high volume of workers or where social distancing is difficult to adhere to.

For further efficiency, HEPA filtered air cleaners can also be used to complement the HVAC system to improve overall air quality by simply recirculating air, significantly reducing the contamination in a room through high air turnovers and high filtration efficiency.

Mobile vacuums such as our DC 1800s are also highly effective in keeping work environments clean, and can also be used to ensure air is kept free of harmful dust particles through source extraction when heavy-duty work is undertaken.

Ultimately, powerful industrial air cleaners with Hepa 13 filtration are an ideal addition to confined and busy working areas or those with little natural airflow.

How industrial air cleaners can help limit the spread of airborne coronavirus particles in the workplace
For further information on Dustcontrol UK's products, please call 01327 858001, or email sales@dustcontrol.co.uk.