We often find that people don’t understand what their obligations are with regard to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) on site. This can apply to anyone responsible for clean air in a production facility – Factory Managers, Operations Managers, Engineering Managers and Hygiene Managers alike. Furthermore, different areas of a production facility (packaging, manufacturing, ripening, cooling, high care, low care etc.) can have different air handling requirements – and understanding what these requirements are, can be confusing. The HVDS Risk Assessment Template will help you take control.
What are the risks of poor IAQ?
The risks of getting air management wrong are:
Food Hygiene and Safety
Compromising food safety by allowing bacteria, mould spores, cross-contamination from other production areas (e.g. from low care to high care) can damage your process, your brand reputation and your profit.
Lack of Audit Compliance
The BRCGS conducts regular audits to ensure compliance. Inspectors do not give much notice and any notice they give is usually not adequate to correct any ongoing issues prior to the visit.
Health and Safety of Employees
From bacteria blowing through your ductwork to legionella in pooling condensate from your air handling system, poor air management can put the health and wellbeing of your workers at risk.
What is the HVDS Air Management Risk Assessment Template?
Interpreting the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8 and understanding what you need to do for full audit compliance, in terms of maintenance, cleaning, repairs, correct air handling unit installations etc. can be confusing, especially when you have different types of production areas with different requirements. One way we help to simplify things is by providing an Air Management Risk Assessment Template.
The Air Management Risk Assessment Template helps you evaluate your air handling requirements on site. It is a checklist, guiding you through a series of considerations/tasks, which will help you prioritise the actions you need to take to achieve compliance. The Air Management Risk Assessment Template also states what the risks are of not taking action. This simple working document can be used time and time again to regularly identify issues and monitor your IAQ.
Devised by HVDS Indoor Air Quality specialists, the Air Management Risk Assessment Template indicates against each consideration/task, the relevant section in the BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8. Our specialists have also included some of their own recommendations to ensure that audit compliance is as complete as possible.
How to get your copy of the HVDS Air Management Risk Assessment Template
If you would like a copy of the Air Management Risk assessment Template, please contact us on 01785 256976 or get in touch here. If you would like help filling in your template, our engineers will be happy to assist. Simply get in touch to book a visit.
After handling an increased volume of production in the run-up to Christmas, many food and beverage manufacturers turn their attention to some routine cleaning and maintenance early in the new year. Air handling systems, in particular, can benefit from a bit of TLC, and at HVDS, we recommend a review of requirements, followed by a thorough clean-down of your whole system by our engineers to ensure good Indoor Air Quality and audit compliance.
You can conduct the review of cleaning and maintenance requirements yourself or we will do this for you. Look at the condition of the following:
- Air filters – Do these need changing? Review the pressure drop for all filtration stages.
- Fans – How clean are these? Is there any build-up that could lead to bacterial growth?
- Heating/cooling coils – Is there dirt trapped in the coil? Is the aluminium still in good condition? Is there a build-up of ice on the cooling coil?
- Ductwork – Check both inside and out for mould/bacteria growth or product build-up. Are the louvres operating freely and are they free of debris?
- Drains – Is condensate pooling?
- Motors – Is there a build-up of dirt?
- Belts and pulleys – Look out for exterior cracks and signs of wear.
- Air Handling Unit (AHU) – Is there build-up on the interior, sides, wall and floor?
For more help in determining your cleaning and maintenance requirements, consult BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8, section 6, or contact us on 01785 256976 or here.
We are delighted to be speaking as a ‘Thought Leader’ at the BRCGS Food Safety Europe 2020 conference on 12th February. The one-day conference, which will be held at Etc Venues County Hall in London, will be examining European food safety management in food manufacturing, food service and retail environments.
Having attended Food Safety Europe in previous years, we value the insights, knowledge-share and ideas the event delivers and are, therefore, delighted to be imparting some of our own ideas and tips on food safety with regard to managing Indoor Air Quality.
Our speaker at Food Safety Europe 2020 will be Tony Carvell, who is our Food Industry Air Filtration and Ventilation Consultant at HVDS. Tony has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. Working daily with food production sites to improve their Indoor Air Quality, Tony specialises in meeting (and surpassing) audit compliance goals, and targets for cost reduction and energy efficiency. His vast industry experience gives him the benefit of a holistic view, helping sites get even more value from their processes and systems.
Tony’s talk will be entitled ‘A Holistic Approach to Managed Indoor Air Quality’. In particular, Tony will be looking at:
- The importance of a holistic view
- The hazards of poor air management
- Busting myths relating to Indoor Air Quality
- Good working practices
As well as giving us lots of tips on what to do to keep our indoor air clean and safe, Tony will be drawing on his experience 10 years of looking after the air filtration requirements of some of the largest food and beverage production companies in the UK and Ireland. Connect with Tony on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/tonycarvellhvds
Food Safety Europe 2020 will also provide a networking opportunity for food safety professionals and delegates across the industry – to swap ideas on how to keep consumers safe, despite the challenges.
The conference will also showcase and present BRCGS Food Safety (Europe) Awards. These awards will recognise
“the outstanding commitment, support and performance of individuals and organisations who contribute to the development of the BRCGS Standards scheme and the wider food safety industry in the European markets.”
Nominations are now open. For more information, click here.
For more information about Food Safety Europe, or to book your place, click here.
At HVDS we help clients in the Food Industry with cleaning and maintenance of air filtration and extraction systems. Our teams work to ensure that systems are suitable for use, hazard free and audit compliant. In this instance, our team were called to investigate a case of poor airflow.
The HVDS team were called on-site to a food factory to investigate poor airflow and leaking ducting. This is what they found.
So, what is wrong with these pictures?
These pictures clearly highlight poor workmanship on an installed ventilation system. Consequently, this meant poor airflow in the food factory, and the ventilation system not performing correctly.
Solving the problem – how did we proceed?
The HVDS team worked with the customer to rectify these issues and ensure correct installation, so that their food factory ventilation systems work effectively and successfully.
How can HVDS help you:
Contact us today on 01785 256 976 to find out more about our clean air solutions for the food manufacturing and processing industry.
In this infographic we take a look at Air Filters in relation to Audit Compliance, and the benefits you will gain from having an air filter audit carried out.
For a more in-depth look at Audit and Compliance, and whether your Air Filter Systems are up to scratch, click here.
Air filtration and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) levels are two of the many different operational functions for which companies are responsible. However, often these important areas are overlooked due to other perceived priorities or deferred maintenance.
This is simply bad practice, not only from a financial standpoint but also from the viewpoint of good business standards. Some facts to consider from a range of studies into IAQ include ‘a significant number of workers believe that poor IAQ has caused them to miss work‘, and ‘nearly 80% of factory workers now believe that clean air is an important priority and should be treated as such by organisations‘.
Considering the above, it is essential that senior teams have a trusted partner to support them in the optimal selection and operation of their air filtration systems, as well as robust maintenance and control systems in place.
We all know that there are many benefits to having an efficient HVAC system. These include: –
- The opportunity to create a better working environment for your staff
- Protection of the production environment
- More efficient maintenance programmes due to reduced downtime
- Cost savings through reduced energy usage facilitated by an optimised HVAC system
Specifically focusing on food production, what concerns might food processing plants have?
- Unable to meet regulatory and customer standards
- Potential compliance risks
- Concerned about productivity and absenteeism issues caused by poor IAQ
Air Filtration Audit
A thorough air filter audit of your air handling systems is the first step to provide you with professional guidance and analysis for cost savings and risk reduction. Well planned audits can discover serious issues that are leading to problems in an HVAC system. Additionally, these surveys help us catch minor troubles that could lead to serious issues if left unattended.
Furthermore it allows professionals to make recommendations on filter technology that will save you time and money by reducing labour and energy cost.
5 benefits that you will get from an air filter audit:
- Analysis of your current filter state by a team of industry experts.
- Professional guidance and analysis to reduce your energy spend, decrease your risk, and save you time.
- Valuable and detailed benchmark data.
- Life cycle cost report that will show you where your HVAC systems could be performing even better.
- A standardized list of filters by air handler unit (AHU) and application.
The provision of an efficient and effective air handling system within your food factory has proven to improve hygiene levels. HVDS’ air hygiene and air handling products and services have been installed in food manufacturing facilities throughout the UK and Ireland. We have helped to significantly improve cleanliness, hygiene and productivity within these manufacturing facilities.
At HVDS we also appreciate the critical nature and the time consumption of food audit compliance. Consequently, HVDS ensure that your audit reports are to be suitably presented to reduce audit inspection time.
When carrying out a survey on some Air Handling Units (AHUs) at a food manufacturer & processor recently, we came across this scenario; the AHU fan’s anti-vibration mounts had either completely come off or were not installed correctly.
With the fan still running and providing good airflow, it can lead you to believe that the system is fine and that it doesn’t need any immediate maintenance. However, small problems like this can lead to much bigger issues in the long run.
Why are anti-vibration mounts so important?
Here we take a look at four reasons why you should be ensuring that the fan anti-vibration mounts on your AHU’s are installed correctly:
- Anti-vibration mounts help to reduce vibration noise
- The mounts protect the fan by preventing the fan blades hitting the casing, and breaking off and throwing the fan off balance
- Anti-vibration mounts prevent structural problems occurring in the AHU caused by vibration
- The anti-vibes allow the correct and natural fluid movement of the fan whilst in operation and allows it to work at its optimum effectiveness and efficiency
Checking your anti-vibration mounts are in place correctly
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. Here at HVDS we can carry out an in-depth mechanical analysis and survey of all your AHU and fan requirements on site, to help you avoid potential costly repairs and maintenance in the future.
One of our engineers posted some great images on LinkedIn last week showing some of the work done by HVDS’s cleaning team at one of the UK’s largest abattoirs.
So, with that in mind, we thought we would take a closer look at some of the challenges that slaughterhouses face and why it is important for a professional team to properly maintain the Air Handling Units (AHU’s).
Why are AHU’s so important in slaughterhouses?
A part of designing an air handling system is to prevent the occurrence of condensation and, in slaughterhouses condensation can occur during cleaning or during the initial chilling process of hot carcasses. The air is usually supersaturated and warmer than the room’s boundary surfaces, hence it will be depositing a large amount of condensation on the cold surfaces.
It is important then for the air to be dried out to keep the moisture levels low in order to prevent product contamination and reduce fungal and/or bacterial growth. It is also necessary for the protection of equipment such as conveyor belts and other machinery from corrosion.
Other problems slaughterhouses need to tackle include:
– Bacteria that can thrive in uncontrolled humidity
– Contaminants affecting product quality leading to health concerns for workforce and consumers
– Longer drying times for floors, surfaces and equipment after cleaning
– Potential production interruptions and plant downtime
– High energy consumption and operating costs
For more information and advice on the impact of air handling and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding someone that satisfies your maintenance needs on site can be a real challenge in the fast-paced world of Food Processing. Even more so when you place your trust in a provider, and take it on faith that they will carry out spot checks and surveys correctly.
Sadly, this is not always the case, and Food Processing buildings can easily become unsanitary and under-maintained behind the scenes.
Why you should ensure your Air Handling Maintenance is up to the mark
Here are some shots HVDS recently found from a full site survey. This site was ‘maintained’ by another provider for nine years prior, however these images tell a different story. Issues like this what you see below, as well as uncleaned systems, can lead to a variety of problems later down the line. That is why it is crucial to have proper procedures and processes in place.
With things like this often going undetected in plants, a site survey provided by an external and impartial provider is advised. Here we take a look at the benefits of a site survey and an effective and managed maintenance plan to avoid situations like the ones illustrated above.
The benefits of a Site Survey:
1. Identifies poorly maintained and unclean systems
An air handling survey can provide you with comprehensive information about your air handling and ventilation systems. It can uncover poorly maintained systems, and highlight ways in which you can reduce risk and improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). One of the biggest issues we find when completing site surveys is poorly maintained systems that are in desperate need of a clean.
2. Enables you to re-strategise and optimise your air handling management
If you are looking to build an effective maintenance strategy, or optimise your current systems, the information provided from a site survey will enable you to make calculated decisions regarding you air handling management.
3. Gives a clear understanding of your personalised requirements
A site survey will allow you to really understand what your personalised requirements are. A one size fits all approach doesn’t always work, or your requirements may have changed. A fresh survey will present you with new ideas on air filter specification or on how to improve your air mapping, or upgrade your ductwork.
How we can help:
For more information on our Air Handling and Ventilation Site Surveys, click here or call us on 01785 256976
We can all agree that consumer protection is one of the major concerns in the food processing industry. Food contamination can adversely affect human health as well as resulting in a loss of consumer confidence and damage to branding and customer loyalty.
In order to avoid these pitfalls, companies operating in the food and beverages industry should introduce custom designed air filters to maintain a sterile environment during the processing of food and beverages. Filtration plays a critical role in providing a safe method for removing impurities and extending the shelf life of many food products.
Why are air filters critical?
Airborne bacteria is a serious concern in food processing. Large number of bacteria, particulates, yeast and mould spores can pass through air handling systems every hour in open plant applications and filters are critical in the removal of microorganisms, Cryptosporidium and particulate matter.
Considerations when it comes to air filtration
Depending on the nature of the HVAC system – roof mounted or closed system – there are different considerations when considering air filtration.
HVAC systems mounted on rooftops require proper filter design, which may include a pre-filter bank for coarse dust contaminates, followed by higher filtration or HEPA filtration. Maintenance of these systems is essential for open plant air processing.
In closed system applications, processing and dispensing of food and/or beverages occurs in a closed work cell. Maintenance of temperature, humidity, and air filtration is an essential requirement for closed system environment. A series of HEPA filters is used for such processes.
Other air filter considerations include:-
- Filters should themselves not be a source of contamination
- Filters should be moisture resistant
- Filters should not have any fibre shredding
- Filters should be robust enough to put up with the stresses of mechanical operation
- Airtight and leak free
All of the above points also illustrate that cheap filters and filtration solutions are rarely effective, from either an operational or financial standpoint.
Of course the degree of filtration depends greatly on the type of product or products being processed, for example, highly micro-sensitive products will require the highest filter standards.
Also air intake units should also be filtered to the degree demanded by the quality of the incoming air and the contamination potential of the product being produced in the factory. These air intake units should be easily accessible for frequent cleaning to prevent interruption of the airflow. The design of any exhaust stacks and their location in relation to the intake air equipment is an important design issue.
Other concerns for food processors
Another concern for food processors is condensate in a plant, especially if it is above or close to where food is handled. Air-handling systems should be designed to minimize such issues, especially in environments where steam is used or during cleanups of cold rooms. Some processors install ventilation systems that are reversible. The process floor operates under positive pressure from HEPA-filtered air during production. During cleanup, the system is reversed to remove steam and warm air to minimize condensate and help dry the area.
Indeed it is incumbent on every food processor to look at its products and processes and evaluate potential risks.
HVDS provide a range of high quality, energy efficient air filtration, ventilation, air handling and air extraction products. Including HVAC air filters, air handling air filters, and air filtration products for air handling, ventilation and extraction.
For more information and advice on the impact air filtration and ventilation contact us at HVDS on 01785 256976 or email@example.com.