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GUIDELINES ON VENTILATION FOR WORKPLACES and PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO PREVENT AND CONTROL THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Department Order No 224
Department of Labor and Employment
 
 
With the gradual opening of the economy, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is releasing DO 224-2021 to ensure proper ventilation in workplaces and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
 
I. COVERAGE and PURPOSE
  • Shall cover all commercial and industrial establishments, projects, sites, and all other places, where work is being undertaken indoors.
  • Shall not cover healthcare facilities requiring special considerations in the control of COVID-19.
  • Provides recommendations on measures to improve and maintain the quality of air in the workplace
  • Ventilation should be used together with the minimum public health standards issued by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
 
II. GENERAL VENTILATION STRATEGIES and RECOMMENDATIONS
 
A. NON-AIR-CONDITIONED SPACES
  1. Maximization of natural ventilation through doors, windows, and other openings (if possible and if safe to do so)
  2. Ensure that the natural air brought into the workplace is contaminant-free. If natural ventilation is not feasible or is inadequate, mechanical ventilation shall be used to supply fresh and extract contaminated air.
  3. Dilution ventilation must be done through the use of an exhaust fan to achieve an air change rate of 6 to 12 ACH if possible, while maximizing the use of natural ventilation.
  4. Exhaust fans should be kept continuously open as much as possible.
  5. If it is unavoidable to use ventilating fans, increase outdoor air changes by opening windows and other openings. Air flow direction or movement should be considered workstations layout to avoid person to person viral spread though airborne respiratory droplets.
  6. Conduct weekly cleaning of windows, other openings, and ventilating fans, or as necessary.
 
B. AIR-CONDITIONED SPACES
  1. For Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, outdoor air supply should conform to the recommended breathing zone ventilation rates, for the purpose of general air dilution and comfort control.
  2. The ventilation system should be run for at least 30 minutes before and after spaces are occupied.
  3. In workplaces that only have local air conditioning units, dilution ventilation may be done through the use of exhaust fans, and filters Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value 13 (MERV13) or higher, or High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter rating applicable to the unit may be installed. There should be enough exhaust fans relative to the room volume to have the required breathing zone minimum ventilation rates
  4. Filter such as HEPA filtration air purifiers can be used to clean recirculated air. Proper maintenance of these devices should be ensured.
  5. Keep the louvers of local air conditioning units in an upward position to prevent air flowing from one person to another.
  6. Frequent opening of the windows, doors, and other openings to supplement the mechanical ventilation.
  7. Establish a cleaning maintenance program for mechanical systems.
 
C. LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION (LEV)
  1. The LEV system shall conform to the existing local code. It shall have the basic components of hoods, ductworks, air cleaning device, fans or blowers and exhaust stack. It shall be equipped also with proper air cleaning device to treat, filter and minimize airborne contaminants exhausted to the atmosphere.
  2. Continuous operation of LEVs when workers are present to allow additional air change in the workplace. Ensure that running hoods of LEVs are properly secured when not used during a specific operation to avoid disruption.
D. RESTROOMS and WATER CLOSETS
  1. Exhaust fans in restroom facilities should be fully functional and operational whenever the building is occupied.
  2. When toilets/water closets are used, close the toilet bowl seat lid before flushing to minimize the release of droplets into air caused by flushing.
  3. Use of hand blowers or jet dryers are prohibited to avoid the dispersion of potentially contaminated air inside the restrooms.
 
III. VENTILATION ASSESSMENT
Employers shall be responsible for maintaining an acceptable and safe indoor air quality.
 
A. QUALITATIVE ASSESMENT
  1. Safety officers may use the attached self-assessment checklist in conducting the assessment.
  2. Safety officer should ensure that the ventilation system is properly working or functioning during the conduct of assessment to determine the entrance and exit of air from the space. Other measure to assess but not limited to the following:
  • Lingering smell
  • Stuffiness or room
  • Feeling or high humidity
  • Smokiness of room
  1. Natural or mechanical ventilation or the combination usage depends on the ventilation assessment conducted by the trained safety officer or ventilation/indoor air-quality specialist.
B. QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT
  1. The directional airflow and objectionable air drafts shall be considered. Airflow direction should be from cleaner source to prevent contamination transmission.
  2. Carbon Dioxide is commonly used as a surrogate indicator for assessing indoor air quality and ventilation efficiency, thus, the minimum ventilation in breathing zones as set by the Philippine Green Building Code, could be used as guide.
  3. Quantitative ventilation measurements shall be performed internally by the trained safety officer of the company, DOLE-OSHC, or by DOLE accredited WEM Service Providers.
 
IV. MONITORING
  • The OSH Committee and/or safety officers of the workplace overseeing the enforcement and monitoring of the minimum public health standards for COVID-19 prevention in the workplace, shall include in its OSH program the monitoring and evaluation on the implementation of these guidelines, at least on a monthly basis or as frequently as possible.
  • The DOLE Regional Offices shall monitor the compliance with this Guidelines.
  • Other government agencies shall also conduct its own monitoring based on their regulatory functions.
  • In case of violation or non-compliance, the applicable sanctions/penalties under pertinent laws, rules, and regulations shall be imposed.
 
V. EFFECTIVITY
This Guidelines shall take effect immediately starting 03 March 2021.
 
 
SOURCES: 
DO 224-21 Guidelines on Ventilation for Workplaces and Public Transport to Prevent and Control the Spread of COVID-19,  https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/do-224-21-guidelines-on-ventilation-for-workplaces-and-public-transport-to-prevent-and-control-the-spread-of-covid-19/

Compiled by: Abapo, Jessa
PFA Secretariat
https://franchisefinderph.com