Improved Air Flow Can Reduce Downtime at Work

Dentist Chair

In some working environments, social distancing simply isn’t possible. Dentists, for example, have been hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Not only must they work in close proximity to their patients, but regulations demand a lengthy period of ‘down time’ between treatments, particularly after any Aerosol-Generating Procedures (AGPs). This is because fillings, root canal treatment or surgical extractions require the use of high-speed drills or instruments that produce dental aerosols.

In fact, dental aerosols, which are generated when saliva mixes with water and air streams used in dental procedures, can spread as fast as 12 metres/second and can contain high numbers of SARS-CoV-2 virions – the virus behind COVID-19.

As a result, Public Health England guidance currently recommends a ‘fallow’ period of 60 minutes in any treatment room with less than 10 Air Changes per Hour (ACH) after the completion of each AGP. Clearly, this impacts on the number of patients dentists can treat in a working day and the profitability of their business.

But there’s good news.

Shorten the fallow time between treatments

The length of time left ‘fallow’ between treatments can be reduced to as little as 10 minutes, providing dentists can demonstrate mitigating factors, such as high quality air ventilation.

Even better, NHS England and NHS Improvement are offering to help dentists improve patient access and treatment by providing funding towards an Air Quality Survey, which will measure Air Changes per Hour (ACH) within their premises. The idea is to enable dentists to demonstrate effective ventilation, in turn allowing them to reduce ‘fallow time, whist still meeting the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation.

MACs ventilation and filtration survey

MAC is one of the qualified air conditioning specialists able to offer a comprehensive ventilation and filtration survey of premises to assess ACH and we can also provide recommendations based on survey results, such as installing an additional local ventilation or a tempered air supply/extract unit (air source heat pump) that could provide fresh air dilution, driving air quality improvement and helping reduce necessary downtime.

In the case of dentists, a ventilation and filtration survey will be fully refundable by NHSE/I.

However, an air quality survey could help any business operating in an enclosed workplaces to improve the safety of their environment for employees and customers, as well as potentially improving capacity for productivity.

Download our brochure – ‘fallow time reduction dental flyer‘ for more information.

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