Harvard Expert Charts Five-Layered Approach to Reopening Offices
A Harvard healthy-buildings expert has laid out a lower-cost, five-layered approach for employers and building managers as they consider how to safely reopen their establishments, the Harvard Gazette reported.
Assistant professor Joseph Allen said existing safety guidelines called the “hierarchy of controls,” normally used to reduce risk in situations such as hazardous chemicals in the workplace, would be suitable for blocking exposure to COVID-19.
The hierarchy consists of five steps, including:
o Hazard elimination, which means keeping employees home.
o Personnel substitution, in this case initially bringing back just those key employees who need to be physically present.
o Engineering controls, including healthy-building.
o Administrative controls, such as de-densify buildings by having portions of the workforce come in on alternate days or times.
o Use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Everyone has to be really clear,” Allen said. “There’s no such thing as zero risk.”
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