Come see us at the NHS Estates and Facilities Conference 2022

The NHS Estates and Facilities Conference 2022 is just a matter of days away and we can’t wait to see you there if you are coming along.

Aimed at estates and facilities managers, directors and leaders, the event provides policy-led updates based on the current challenges and issues being faced by the sector.

Key topics covered at the NHS Estates and Facilities Conference include:

  • Capital Investment Strategy
  • Delivering a Net Zero NHS
  • Leadership and Workforce management
  • Maintenance backlog: Innovating to overcome.
  • New Hospital Development programme: plans and best practice
  • Governance

You will be able to take advantage of best practice sessions to get ideas and solutions for driving productivity and improving outcomes in your organisation.

What’s more, if you are an NHS estates manager or leader, you are provided with a fully funded and CPD accredited pass to attend this session.

Just click here to find out more

How we help Estates and Facilities Managers

If you are looking for help with workplace exposure monitoring or chemical spill training, then our consultants will be at the conference to discuss the various ways in which we can support you.

Cairn Technology carries out workplace exposure monitoring for a wide range of harmful chemicals. This includes monitoring staff exposures of:

  • N2O and/or the anaesthetic agents in theatres, anaesthetic rooms, recovery areas and anaesthetic workshops,
  • Peracetic acid and acetic acid in Endoscope Decontamination areas, and
  • Inhalable and respirable dust in plaster rooms and estates workshops.

 So, if any of the above areas are of concern to you, please don’t hesitate to come and chat with us on our stand.

We will also be exhibiting our new Blueair HealthProtectTM air purifiers, which are specifically designed for treatment rooms, waiting rooms, laboratories and other poorly ventilated spaces in hospitals.

In addition, you might be interested in discussing our range of chemical and cytotoxic spill stations, which we supply to hospital Trusts across the UK.

Visiting us at the NHS Estates and Facilities Conference 2022

Just come and visit us on our stand at 15Hatfields Conference Centre in London on 23rd June and we will be happy to discuss how we can help you.

Or, if you won’t be able to attend, feel free to call our team on 0333 015 4345 or email us at info@cairntechnology.com. You can also see our range of products and services at www.cairntechnology.com

 

What is an Air Quality Consultant?

An air quality consultant assesses the air quality in hospitals, schools, warehouses, offices, and other indoor environments.

Their work will help you ensure that anybody who accesses your premises can breathe cleaner air– whether they’re employees, patients, students or customers. They’ll also help you achieve compliance with certain air quality regulations.

What Does an Air Quality Consultant Do?

An air quality consultant will begin by testing the air quality on your premises. They can test for dust, carbon, pollutants, temperature, humidity, and potentially harmful chemicals.

Head here to read our guide to how air quality consultants test air quality.

Once they’ve assessed the air quality, an air quality consultant will produce a detailed report. This report will highlight any potential causes for concern, and it’ll advise you on actions you can take to improve the air quality on your premises.

Air Quality Regulations UK

The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 is the main legislation concerning air quality in the UK. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland each have their own separate legislation.

These regulations set legally binding limits for concentrations of certain pollutants in outdoor air. They’re therefore of particular relevance for planners and local government.

The legislation that all businesses and organisations should be aware of is called Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

Under COSHH, all employers have a legal responsibility to reduce their employees’ exposure to hazardous substances. You can read a complete guide to your legal responsibilities when it comes to air quality. But in short, you should monitor for air quality at least once every 12 months to ensure your environment falls within the recommended workplace exposure limits (WELs).

The Benefits of Air Quality Consultations

There are good reasons to work with an air quality consultant beyond achieving COSHH compliancy.

Air pollution makes people sick. It can lead to headaches, nausea, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, irritations, and coughs. It can make asthma, allergies, and other conditions worse. If you work with certain harmful chemicals, prolonged exposure can lead to serious chronic health conditions, or even death.

Cleaner air is crucial to health, happiness, and general wellbeing. So cleaner air means less illness, which means fewer sick days. Help your people breathe cleaner air and you’ll contribute to a more positive and productive environment overall.

Book an Air Quality Consultation

We offer workplace air quality monitoring services. We can monitor your staff’s exposure to any potentially harmful substances in your workplace. This will help you understand your risk levels, so you can devise an air quality solution that works for you.

We specialise in healthcare settings. We’ve helped both NHS and private healthcare settings with bespoke air quality monitoring services, from monitoring Ethyl Chloride levels in anaesthetic rooms to checking cobalt and sodium levels in boiler rooms. In addition, we’ve also carried out dust monitoring in fracture clinic plaster rooms and orthotics laboratories.

But whatever your workplace, we can carry out a bespoke air quality consultation and exposure monitoring service that’s tailored to meet your needs.

Find out more about our Workplace Exposure Monitoring Services or get in touch to talk to one of our experts.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

As well as monitoring your indoor air quality, you will need to take steps to improve it. We have a range of commercial air purification systems designed for workplaces, hospitals and schools can catch 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns – this includes viruses and bacteria as well as larger particles related to air pollution from vehicles.

Browse our commercial air purifier range fit for hospitals, healthcare setting, schools and workplaces.

 

Current Issues in Operating Theatres

Operating theatre teams around the world face fresh challenges every year. In this post we’ll explore some of the current issues in operating theatres, and examine the ways in which operating theatre teams are rising to meet these challenges.

Infection Control and Ventilation

The pandemic caused severe disruption to all surgical specialties. UK operating theatres cancelled elective surgical procedures while avoiding aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).

A recent paper in the Royal College of Surgeons annals reported on how operating theatres across the world had used negative pressure environments to reduce the spread of infectious airborne particles during AGPs. This paper went on to present an overview on how operating theatre ventilation systems can work to reduce both virus transmissions and surgical site infections (SSIs).

The paper concludes that, while there is not yet enough evidence to recommend that all operating theatres convert to negative pressure environments, all health settings should have negative pressure rooms available for high-risk patients.

Head here to read the latest research on operating theatre ventilation in the Royal College of Surgeons annals.

You can also read our guide to cleaning for infection prevention and control in operating theatres.

Improving Operating Room Efficiency

One of the current issues in operating theatres is how to improve efficiency while reducing turnaround time between procedures. A recent paper in Folio 3 Digital Health explored the possibilities of using Internet of Things (IOT) devices to improve operating room efficiency best practices.

“Smart” medical equipment allows for predictive maintenance, so teams can address any potential issues long before they become problems. IOT devices can also help reduce medical errors during surgical processes through allowing for faster and more powerful data sharing among the operating team.

Head here to read the full paper on the possibilities of IOT devices in operating theatres.

In June 2020, the NHS England Improvement Hub published a resource entitled The Productive Operating Theatre. This is a series of modules designed to help theatre teams work together to improve the quality of the patient experience and the safety of surgical services. The resource outlines ways in which theatres can make best use of available time and expertise.

Head here to access the full suite of Productive Operating Theatre resources.

Consumables and Equipment Management

A key focus area for improving operating theatre efficiency is good management of consumables and equipment. Investing in connected IOT devices might be a good long-term goal. But lower-tech solutions can help operating theatre teams make huge improvements to efficiency in the short-term too.

For example, we stock a range of absorbent floor mats designed to capture fluids during surgical procedures. They can help you to optimise your fluid management, which won’t just improve health and safety – it’ll also optimise your turnaround times between procedures.

Communication and Working Together to Overcome Challenges

The Association for Perioperative Practice recently ran an online survey asking theatre nurses to share their experiences of work, and the challenges they face in the theatre environment.

The charity aimed to highlight issues such as bullying, pressure, and support from senior members. As in an operating theatre environment, these issues don’t just result in unpleasant working environments. The working environment can affect patient safety and outcomes.

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, first published in 2010, contains numerous measures to help operating theatres foster a supportive environment based on mutual respect. For example, it outlines that all surgical procedures should start with a briefing, during which senior staff members should actively welcome queries and concerns from junior staff members.

Head here to read our full guide to the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.

Improving the Running of Your Operating Theatre

At Cairn Technology, we’re here to help you run your operating theatre more efficiently and effectively. We have a number of products and services to help you do that, and a team of experts on hand to give you the advice you need.

For example, our absorbent floor mats can help you to optimise your fluid management to help your health and safety and turnaround times, as well as other surgical supplies for infection control and high-level performance.

Do You Have a Question About Current Issues in Operating Theatres?

Whether you want a consultation on effective infection control, or some advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, our experts are here to help.

Get in touch to talk to one of our experts today.

 

 

What is a Hazardous and Toxic Air Pollutant?

All employers in all industries have a legal requirement to reduce their employees’ exposure to hazardous substances. This is all outlined in a piece of legislation known as Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

COSHH covers various substances, including many hazardous and toxic air pollutants.

In this post we’ll explain what counts as a hazardous and toxic air pollutant, and explore ways you can improve the air quality on your premises.

What is a Hazardous and Toxic Air Pollutant?

A hazardous and toxic air pollutant is any pollutant which is known or suspected to be harmful to health or the environment. The source of these pollutants will vary by location and workplace. Poor air quality from vehicle use is common across the UK, while specific workplaces will have other hazardous and toxic air pollutants to monitor and reduce.

What Pollutants Do Cars and Vehicles Emit?

Emissions from vehicles are one of the most common sources of air pollution. Air pollution from cars and vehicles can lead to headaches, nausea, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, irritations, and coughs. It can make asthma, allergies, and other conditions worse. So really, any air pollutant can be potentially hazardous.

Common Air Pollutants

The government regulations concerning air quality are particularly concerned with the following air pollutants:

  • Particulate matter
  • Nitrogen Oxide
  • Ammonia
  • Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Sulphur Dioxide

We’ll discuss each of these in more detail.

What is Particulate Matter?

Anything in the air that isn’t a gas. Particulate matter is composed of a huge variety of chemical compounds and materials, some of which are toxic. As these particles are so small, they can enter the bloodstream after inhalation, ending up lodged in the heart, brain, and other organs.

Prolonged exposure to particulate matter can result in serious illness, especially among children, elderly people, and people with respiratory problems.

UK legislation classifies particulate matter according to size. They’re currently focused on particulate matter composed of particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10) along with that composed of particles less than 2.4 micrometres (PM2.5)

Some potentially hazardous particulate matter, such as pollen and sea spray, comes from natural sources. Human activity can also increase the concentration of particulate matter in the air, including wood burning, road transport, industrial processes, and manufacturing.

What are Nitrogen Oxides?

Nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) are mainly formed as a by-product of burning fossil fuels. So areas with high levels of road traffic will generally have high levels of nitrogen oxides.

In the short-term, exposure to nitrogen oxides can cause inflammation of the airwaves, which can make symptoms worse for people who suffer from respiratory infections, allergies, and heart and lung conditions.

Nitrogen oxides are also harmful for the environment, as they can change soil chemistry and upset the biodiversity in sensitive habitats.

What is Ammonia?

The majority of ammonia emissions comes from agricultural processes, including the spreading of manures, slurries and fertilisers. Waste management processes can also contribute to ammonia emissions.

When ammonia mixes with other gases in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide, it can form particulate matter. This particulate matter can subsist for several days, during which time it can spread over a large area. And as we saw above, particulate matter can prove immensely hazardous to public health.

What are Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds?

The government treats non-methane organic compounds (NMVOCs) as a group. This is because, while these compounds can differ widely at a chemical level, they all behave in a similar way in the atmosphere.

Sources of NMVOCs include:

  • Combustion, such as smoking, heating, cooking and candle burning.
  • Petrol vapours.
  • Air fresheners.
  • Cleaning products.

Outdoors, NMVOCs can react with other air pollutants to create ground-level ozone, which can trigger inflammation and asthma. Indoors, NMVOCs can react with certain chemicals to produce formaldehyde. In low concentrations, formaldehyde can cause irritation in the eyes and upper airways. But formaldehyde also happens to be a carcinogen. So in high concentrations it can lead to serious health concerns.

Certain settings can have unique air pollution risks. Hospitals, for example, have a number of hazardous and toxic air pollutants in addition to the most common pollutants caused by vehicles emissions and other sources. For example, Nitrous Oxide (Entonox), sevoflurane, chlorine and phenol are just a few hazardous air pollutants which may be found in hospitals as a result of anaesthetic medication and antiseptic solutions.

What is Sulphur Dioxide?

Sulphur dioxide is primarily produced following the combustion of coal or crude oil. It’s a corrosive, acidic gas that’s associated with asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Sulphur dioxide can also combine with nitrogen oxides and ammonia to form particulate matter. And as we saw above, particulate matter carries numerous health risks.

Finally, sulphur dioxide can combine with water vapour to form acid rain, which can devastate ecosystems including forests and freshwater habitats.

Removing Harmful and Toxic Pollutants with Air Purifiers

As we’ve seen, a huge variety of human activity can contribute to the production of hazardous and toxic air pollutants. But at the same time, there’s a lot we can do to help improve air quality.

Commercial air purification systems designed for workplaces, hospitals and schools can catch 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns – this includes viruses and bacteria as well as larger particles related to air pollution from vehicles.

Our air purifiers play an important role in minimising the risks of air pollution in wards and waiting rooms in hospitals where air pollution from vehicles breach legal limits.

Browse our air purifier range designed for hospitals and healthcare settings.

Working to Improve Air Quality in Your Organisation

Not only will organisations need to improve air quality in relation to these most common air pollutants related to traffic, workplaces will also need to identify and monitor any other substances specific to their work which may be harmful.

As we’ve discussed, hospitals have a number of potentially harmful substances that require monitoring, as do dentists and doctors surgeries. Workplaces like factories will also likely be required to monitor workplace exposure to dust or harmful chemicals.

Workplace Air Quality Consultation Services

We offer workplace air quality consultation services. We can monitor your staff’s exposure to any potentially harmful substances in your workplace. This will help you understand your risk levels, so you can devise an air quality solution that works for you. We also stock advanced air filtration systems capable of catching and killing many common hazardous and toxic air pollutants.

Whether you work in a school, an office, a workplace or a hospital, we can carry out a bespoke air quality consultation and exposure monitoring service that’s tailored to meet your needs. Find out more about our workplace exposure monitoring services.