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Supporting Healthy Indoor Air Quality within the Healthcare Sector
Sunday 31st May 2020
Public health has been defined as “the science and art of preventing disease”[i]. The responsibility to improve public health is community-wide. It’s the collective effort of individuals, organisations (public and private), influencers and decision-makers that can drive change towards creating safer, healthier spaces for the future.
When it comes to the healthcare sector, the need for safe environments that protect public health is extremely significant. The goal is to create zero-risk environments, that are designed and constructed to optimise safety and hygiene.
A fundamental element of creating risk-free environments is safe and reliable drainage solutions. You may not realise that drainage can play a pivotal role for the life of a building and its occupants. Drainage is essential for optimising hygiene in any building but in a healthcare facility, it is critical to human life.
With this in mind, let’s explore how safe & sustainable drainage supports healthy indoor air quality in the healthcare sector.
Importance of public health in healthcare facilities
The best protection for public health is prevention, not clean up.
A healthcare facility is designed to treat, recover and protect, not to harm. By using safe drainage systems, designed specifically for use in sensitive environments, you can ensure that health risks are not being caused or worsened by the facility itself.
Furthermore, healthcare facilities and hospitals are complex structures that perform a diverse range of functions. They house medical units, emergency services, food & beverage amenities and housekeeping departments.
This creates a complex drainage environment. The safe removal of waste fluids while adhering to the highest standards of hygiene is of utmost importance.
That is why every aspect of the system must be carefully considered and executed from initial design and installation through to cleaning and maintenance.
Benefits of specialised solutions
Whilst health and safety are at the forefront of creating effective healthcare facilities, often the role of drainage in achieving it is overlooked. Drainage systems are out of sight, and therefore out of mind.
This approach can lead can have harmful health effects and costly consequences. Poorly designed systems can cause “sick building syndrome”, which is when indoor environments cause poor health symptoms such as tiredness, upper respiratory irritation and headaches.
Here are some ways in which specialised drainage systems can benefit the operation of healthcare facilities and reduce the chance of sick building syndrome:
1) Reduce the spread of infectious diseases
Properly designed drainage systems are engineered to reduce the build-up of harmful bacteria and pathogens. The key is using systems that are safely interconnected throughout the facility to ensure the effective removal of waste fluids that accumulate in hospitals, therefore reducing the chances of cross-contamination.
2) Eliminate toxic leaks and odours
Improper drainage and poor ventilation can have a significant effect on the indoor air quality of an environment. They cause increased leaks and mould, which allows foul odours and gases to escape into the building. Odours can enter a building through blocked vents or damaged drain lines leaking various toxins into the air such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane and consequently causing a range of health problems.
Learn more about the value of creating healthy indoor environments.
3) Optimise cleanliness
As previously mentioned, healthcare facilities, especially hospitals, contain a variety of hygiene-critical environments. It is important to consider every environment in order to optimise drainage performance.
For example, hospitals can incorporate best practices adopted by the food & beverage sector. Making an effort to design and function in accordance with standardised hygienic engineering principles can ensure that every aspect of the hospital will have a strict code of conduct in regards to drainage specifications and methods of waste disposal.
4) Minimise operational costs
Safe, sustainable and specialised drainage systems are durable, reliable and robust. Ultimately, what this means is less maintenance and less failures.
Furthermore, with systems that are inherently optimised for hygiene, the risk posed by improper cleaning processes is reduced.
An example is using HDPE pipes for drainage systems in healthcare facilities. These are most durable and easy to install, minimising both installation and maintenance costs.
5) Meet the specific requirements of your facility
Each healthcare facility is unique in design and function. Therefore, each requires a tailor-made, engineered drainage solution.
Hybrid solutions are vital for success. The key is using a solution which accounts for the multiple materials, systems and applications needed within a healthcare facility and then adapting these accordingly to ensure the outcome is a holistic and complete drainage system that functions effectively.
Explore the importance of safe & sustainable drainage in creating healthy environments in the healthcare sector:
What is important, is realising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As an industry, it’s about coming together to actively encourage the design and installation of safe and reliable public health systems.
Industry leaders must unite to promote good practices and educate communities on the importance of safe, engineered systems.
This is a necessary step in order to encourage positive change.
Our team of experts in always available to discuss how you can take your project into your hands to better support public health.
Contact us today to find out how we can help with your project.
As water descends down the single stack drainage system, it creates a negative pressure that if interrupted, or is approaching a change of directi