By Vanni de Sequera
Just days before a surge in Covid-19 cases in the Philippines saw daily national PCR positive test results breach the 3,000 mark (numbers not seen since October 2020), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued new ventilation rules for workplaces and public utility vehicles. Signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on March 3, 2021, “Guidelines on Ventilation for Workplaces and Public Transport to Prevent and Control the Spread of Covid-19” covers all commercial and industrial establishments where work is conducted indoors.
The guideline included many sensible suggestions, such as opening windows, doors, and other fenestration when possible (even just a few inches). Covid-19 remains a perplexing disease, but there is scientific consensus that natural ventilation inside indoor spaces is a commonsensical way to reduce the risk of contagion, as long as the outside air is free of other hazardous contaminants, of course.
The DOLE guideline also advises that for air-conditioned spaces with windows that architecturally cannot be opened, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems should conform to accepted ventilation and comfort levels. Ensure that a sufficient number of exhaust fans will migrate indoor air away from the workspace; clean or replace high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters regularly; initiate a maintenance protocol for your indoor-air-quality mechanical systems.
“Section 6: Ventilation Assessment” of the guideline, in no uncertain terms, puts the onus on the employer for upholding “an acceptable and safe air quality.” DOLE, the Department of Health, the Department of Trade and Industry, other government departments, and their private-sector partners are perfectly willing to extend technical assistance to employers so that they may comply with this guideline, but it can all still be very confusing. Air movement, carbon-dioxide concentration, airborne contaminants, and particulate matter are problematic to monitor, much less manage, without the requisite technology.
Sensible guidelines, needing easy implementation
The technicalities of DOLE’s guideline, even with your best intentions as a responsible employer, is exceedingly difficult to abide by. If only there was a way to monitor indoor-air quality with wirelessly Internet-connected devices for the well-being of employees—and not the just for the sake of mere compliance.
Well, there is. With a class-leading 9 environmental and pollution parameters, uHoo is the most advanced indoor air-quality monitor in the market.
When situated inside a workspace, uHoo’s nine dedicated sensors will monitor the following air-quality indicators:
(3) Nitrogen dioxide
(4) Particulate matter
(5) Carbon dioxide
(6) Carbon monoxide
(8) Volatile organic compounds
(9) Air pressure levels
uHoo Virus Index: a 1-10 scoring of air quality
The Virus Index of uHoo is capable of ranking whether the indoor air quality inside a place of business heightens or impedes the survival of harmful viruses (1/10 is the best score; 10/10, the worst).
In these anxious pandemic times, never before has the quality of the air we breathe at the office become more central to our mental and physical well-being. And never before has it been more crucial to the productivity of your business.
All these won’t make sense, however, without a software platform that reduces human error by systemizing DOLE’s requirements into functional, real-world implementation.
Helios by Cortex Enterprise Solutions empowers you to have exceptional visibility over your properties’ indoor-air quality via a monitoring system that provides real-time alerts—by means of its Internet of Things (Iot)-based system of hardware and software connectivity.
Helios and uHoo combine forces to remove the guesswork from your compliance with DOLE’s latest guidance in relation to minimizing COVID-19 infection risk in the workplace.