August 31, 2020

Occupational and Environmental Health Experts Release Recommendations on Reducing Risk of COVID-19 with Enhanced Engineering and Work Practice Controls

CONTACT:
Susan Marchese
, Managing Director,
Communications & Marketing, AIHA
(202) 256-8986

Katie Heraty, Account Director,
CS-Effect
(773) 677-1775



FALLS CHURCH, Va.--As businesses, schools, retailers and manufacturers manage reopening due to the pandemic, AIHA continues to expand its library of comprehensive Back to Work Safely guidelines, white papers and resources aimed at 26 different business and community sectors.

The latest guidelines include recommendations on engineering controls (ventilation, enhanced filtration and physical barriers), germicidal ultraviolet radiation, enhanced cleaning and disinfection and personal hygiene and physical distancing.

“While many solutions rely primarily on PPE, AIHA scientists and health professionals have developed more comprehensive guidelines which are specific and written with small to mid-sized businesses in mind. The guidelines include practical checklists that point out ways the employer, employees, customers and visitors can minimize their risk,” said Lindsay Cook, CIH, CSP, AIHA President. “The AIHA Back to Work Safely guidelines include engineering and work practice solutions that can complement the effective utilization of masks. They offer a detailed view of how ventilation can be an effective control in non-healthcare and non-industrial workplaces and how employers can develop specific cleaning and disinfection programs.”

AIHA and its volunteer committees of industrial hygienists urge employers to implement engineering controls in all indoor workplaces, even those outside of the healthcare industry, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The broad category of engineering controls that may be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus includes the following:

  • Physical barriers, enclosures, and guards
  • Automatic door openers and sensors
  • Local exhaust ventilation
  • Enhanced filtration to capture infectious aerosols
  • Devices that inactivate or “kill” infectious organisms
  • Dilution ventilation and increasing outside air delivery

“Using a combination of available technologies, equipment, and time-tested methods to control infectious aerosols is the most reliable way to reduce the risk of disease spread,” said Cook.

All the guidelines are available for free in English (and seven in Spanish) for the following sectors:

  • Amateur Sports
  • At-Home Service Providers*
  • Bars
  • Business Services
  • Childcare Providers
  • Construction Sites
  • Dental Office Settings
  • General Office Settings*
  • Gyms and Workout Facilities*
  • Hair and Nail Salons*
  • Houses of Worship
  • Institutions of Higher Education
  • Libraries
  • Museums and Collecting Institutions
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy, massage therapy
  • Retail*
  • Restaurants*
  • Rideshare, Taxi, Limo and Other Passenger Driver-for-Hire*
  • Schools K-12
  • Small Manufacturing and Maintenance Shops
  • Small Entertainment Venues (e.g. mini golf and arcades)
  • Small and Medium Sports Facilities
  • Small Lodging Establishments
  • Street Vendors and Farmers Markets
  • Transit Systems
  • Warehousing/Transportation

*In English and Spanish

All resources are available to download on www.backtoworksafely.org. CDC includes a link to these guidance documents on its website. Additionally, COVID-19 resources on personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-entry into the workplace hazards can be found at AIHA Media Outreach Center.

The AIHA Back to Work Safely Task Force is comprised of over a dozen highly-trained and experienced OEHS scientists and professionals representing various business sectors: government, industry, higher education and consulting.

About AIHA

AIHA is the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, networks, comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional and competency standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed across the public and private sectors, as well as to the communities in which they work. For more information, please visit www.aiha.org.