Applying for and Complying with Air Permits
by Tom Petersen & Allison Stalker
Reading and understanding federal, state, and local regulations that are relevant to your facility is the best way to determine if your facility is required to have an air permit. Federal regulations can be found on the EPA website (www.epa.gov) and the Federal Register. State and local regulations usually can be found on your state and city’s environmental protection department website. For example, in New Jersey, regulations are found on the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection website under the “Division of Air Quality” section. This website and the EPA website offer a number of guides and fact sheets to help determine which regulations apply for your facility. Most regulatory agencies also provide contact information for people in the agency who can help determine what your facility needs to do to comply with air regulations at a federal, state, and local level. Read more.
Infection prevention and control is a serious issue for healthcare facilities during renovation projects. While most hospitals understand the implications of larger renovations, facilities often overlook infection control when planning smaller projects. The risk to patients and employees remains regardless of the project’s size, and medical centers must enact their infection control protocols accordingly.
Tom Petersen, president of Environmental and Engineering Solutions, Inc., who has significant experience with Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) and infection control measures, believes smaller renovation projects often present a greater risk to patients and staff, due to their decreased visibility. “Small-scale construction projects can easily fly under the radar,” Petersen says. “These projects can create an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, and leave the facility vulnerable to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).” Read more.
Balancing Budgets and Sustainability
by Heather Cummings & Tom Petersen
The cost of post-secondary education is at an all-time high, and in these difficult economic times many families cannot afford another tuition increase. As a result, many schools are seeking alternative funding opportunities. One of the easiest ways for colleges and universities to find money in their budget is by eliminating wasteful practices.
Each year the U.S. produces more than 4.5M tons of solid waste, much of which consists of recyclable or reusable materials. By reducing waste and creating more sustainable practices, colleges and universities could save thousands each year. Read More.
11 Things Every Administrator Should Know to Protect Patients During Construction
by Tom Petersen
When a hospital contemplates renovation, administrators must consider several things, including budget, timeline, and employee logistics; but the paramount concern must be patient safety. Infection control is crucial during any construction project at an existing healthcare facility.
Case Study ~ Save Money, Go Green
by Heather Cummings
With health care costs on the rise, hospital sustainability is more important than ever. While the term “sustainability” can be interpreted in many ways, we define it as anything of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting/using a resource so that the reserve is not depleted or permanently damaged. Green medical centers across the nation have realized that it makes good financial sense to protect our environment and health through sustainability initiatives.
Tom Petersen, P.E. has more than 30 years of experience in environmental health and safety consulting and engineering. He is also the president of Environmental and Engineering Solutions, Inc. (EES), a consulting firm which helps organizations to achieve their sustainability goals, while complying with federal, state, and local environmental health and safety regulations. According to Petersen, there are a few steps hospitals can take to help preserve the environment while saving themselves big bucks. Read More.
Case Study: Risk Management in Health Care Construction Projects
by Tom Petersen
Health care workers are, like patients, subject to illness from a variety of airborne pathogens common to hospital settings. This risk increases during construction and renovation because these endeavors release dust and disease-inducing microbes into the surrounding environment. Because more than one in five workplace illnesses in private industry occur in a hospital setting, hospitals should consider the potential health impact of renovation and construction projects on their workforces.
This article will focus on how Frankford Hospitals, a health system based in Northeast Philadelphia, incorporates infection control procedures to limit the risk to its patients, employees, and vendors. Read More.
Assess risk, plan ahead to prevent infection control
By Tom N. Petersen
The issue of hospital-acquired infections is a serious problem. According to several sources, three to four million hospital-acquired infections occur annually, with up to 80,000 fatalities. The costs of these infections are estimated to be between $4 billion and $5 billion per year, according to Air-Treatment Systems for Controlling Hospital-Acquired Infections, HPAC Engineering (April 2, 2008).
Healthcare facilities are under competitive pressure to continually incorporate new and modern equipment, new diagnostic procedures and new treatments, creating a constant need for renovation. However, construction projects increase the risk of infection by spreading microbes that cause disease.
Facilities managers and infection control personnel can take proactive steps to help minimize the risk of contamination during construction and renovation projects. Read More