DOLE issues new ventilation guidelines for workplaces, public transport
MANILA, Philippines — In order to make the workplace and public transportation more responsive to the government’s health protocols, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued new guidelines for proper ventilation in workplaces and public transportation to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
DOLE has issued Department Order 224-21, signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday, which provides rules for ventilation that should be observed for private establishments and public transport.
According to DOLE, the new set of guidelines include the installation and utilization of exhaust fans in indoor workplaces, restrooms, and water closets; ventilation in air, rail, land, and sea transport, and other measures to improve the quality of air in the workplace and public transportation.
The DOLE, in a statement on Thursday, noted that properly maintained ventilation within a building and other indoor workplaces eliminate contaminated air and reduce the risks of exposure to potentially virus-contaminated air.
The guidelines under the department order recommend maximizing the natural ventilation in non-air-conditioned spaces through the use of doors, windows, and other openings.
“If natural ventilation is not feasible or inadequate, mechanical ventilation shall be provided,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, for air-conditioned spaces and Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, “the outdoor air supply should conform to the recommended breathing zone ventilation rates for air dilution and comfort control.”
The ventilation system is also recommended to be utilized for at least 30 minutes before and after spaces are occupied, said DOLE.
Exhaust fans in restroom facilities should also be functional and operating at full capacity when the building is occupied, according to the department.
The DOLE further advised that when toilets or water closets are used, it is better to close the toilet bowl seat lid before flushing, if available, to minimize the release of droplets into the air due to flushing.
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