Working safely during COVID-19 in labs and research facilities

Covid Secure Cleanrooms - Validation and Air Handling

On Monday 11th May 2020, the government released a guidance document titled, “Working safely during COVID-19 in labs and research facilities.”

We have thoroughly reviewed the government guidance document and will release a series of articles giving practical advice on how a Covid-secure cleanroom / lab / workstation can be achieved. Today’s topic begins with Validation and testing.

Validation and testing

In 5.1 Before reopening, the document states that “restarting and testing equipment which may have been unused for a longer than usual period of time” is a step that will usually be needed.

As you plan to re-establish your workplace, cleanroom facility owners will need to consider how they will qualify that their facility is operating in accordance with the regulatory guidelines it was built to comply with.

Practical steps to reduce risk:

It is important that a full risk assessment guides your strategy for re-opening.

Air handling & filter media

In 3.3 Workplaces and workstations, the advice is to ensure “appropriate air handling and filtering systems are installed and maintained in high risk areas where there is a risk for airborne particles.

We are told in the document (under 5.1) that positive pressure systems can “operate as normal”, but for cleanrooms that re-circulate a proportion of air volume, there needs to be a confidence that the filter media is operating at the efficiency level they were designed to. The risk of filter media failure currently carries a greater risk, as it could mean that contaminated air is being recirculated through the system, putting people and process at serious risk.

Practical steps to reduce risk:

  • Filter integrity testing
  • Review of the maintenance schedule for pre-filter replacement
  • Consider upgrading to a higher quality filter media (i.e. HEPA to ULPA)
  • Service the air handling systems 

Support from Connect 2 Cleanrooms

We have a dedicated Validation department who can help you make an informed decision on how to identify, resolve and enhance facility performance, as well as recording operating parameters.

Whether we designed your system or not – we would like to use our technical expertise in HVAC and cleanroom systems to help secure your work place during these challenging times.

Our Validation Technicians are able to perform testing independently, minimising contact with your workforce and in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing. We have also introduced enhanced disinfection and PPE measures to reduce risk further during this time.

To discuss your validation requirements please contact:

John Merrill

Aftersales & Validation Lead

[email protected]

+44 (0)1524 813020

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