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Ventilation systems in the work environment

In many work places man made, technological devices are needed to ensure adequate ventilation and a proper exchange of fresh air.
This may be necessary in offices with few or no windows (or ventilation ducts) or environments where harmful substances are expelled into the air.

What is ventilation?

Ventilation is the movement of air into or out of a closed space. This can sometimes be a change in the density of the gases that make up the air (for example, a closed room with people or animals and where fresh air can’t enter can cause CO2 levels to rise and reduce oxygen levels).
It can also result in raised temperatures within the room or reduce the effects of harmful substances in the air on those in the room.

Ventilation can be achieved through natural means – a permanent opening that allows for the natural or forced entry of air from the outside.

Why is ventilation important?

The main reason why ventilation in the work environment is so important is one of safety. There are different reasons for ventilation at the work place, but most, if not all, are concerned with the safety of the workers.

In work places where with high temperatures and humidity. By law, the maximum allowed level of humidity is 70% and the maximum allowed temperature for continuous work is 30 degrees (dependent on how hard the work is). In instances where heat above legal limits is expelled into the environment, there is a danger of fainting due to low oxygen levels.
In addition, high temperatures or humidity (even if they are within legal limits) cause discomfort for employees or customers which is a good reason to ensure adequate ventilation.

In other work places, dust or particles are created during the process. These could be dangerous for the workers. In these cases, the air must be extracted and filtered and the harmful substances removed.

Additionally, some offices or factories with few ventilation openings or with no windows may need a system to move the air in order to prevent excessive concentrations of CO2 in the work environment. In some work environments, harmless gases are expelled whose odor may be strong and unpleasant (such as in toilets).
In cases like these, if there is no natural ventilation (windows or doors) then other solutions are required.

Ventilation solutions

Ventilations solutions provide an answer for the varying needs of different work environments.

In an environment where substances are emitted into the air or high humidity needs to the extracted from the air (in kitchens for example), then an extraction system should be used.

Fume hoods of various sizes are installed in windows or the wall. The extract the air and the substances contained in it, expelling it outside of the room or filtering it and venting it back into the work space. Extraction equipment includes blowers and extraction fans of various sizes and types.

In environments with an oil rich atmosphere (kitchens) or with large particles (sawdust in a carpenter’s workshop for example) a centrifugal blower must be adapted to ensure that the particles don’t get trapped in the accelerator.
The centrifugal blower receives the air from the center of the blower and rotates it using an accelerator and centrifugal force to the side.

In the event of poisonous and polluting emissions, it is vital that the owner does not make do with regular extractor fans and flues to remove the pollutants. The air must be filtered and the offending pollutants removed.

An additional work environment ventilation solution is the industrial fan – large fans (floor standing), ceiling fans, box fans and drum fans. There are different types of industrial fan designed to provide solutions for a large work environment. It’s important to point out that, apart from excessive heat and/or humidity, work environments that suffers from gas or particle emissions should include a solution that combines extraction fans that remove the poisonous particles and a fan that encourages air flow and exchange to prevent the build of poisonous concentrations.