Clean Ventilation Systems – Never More Essential

Health Estate Journal

There has never been a previous time when those responsible for the maintenance of ventilation systems had more reason to ensure they are maintained in a clean and safe condition. The very air that patients, staff and visitors breathe must be safe and, since the essential function of air ventilation systems is to circulate clean, safe air, it is indisputable that they need to be kept clean.

Dr Ghasson Shabha of Birmingham University has shown that temperature and humidity conditions typically found in ventilation systems provide excellent opportunities for bugs to thrive. Dust in these systems contains a high proportion of organic compounds including hair and skin flakes – the main nutrients for the growth of micro-organisms such as MRSA and C. difficile.

It is therefore clearly incumbent on those charged with providing safe, hygienic conditions in hospitals to include the cleaning of ventilation systems as an essential part of their attack on the incidence of infection.

Grease extract ventilation systems are a potential hazard and need to be regularly cleaned to ensure they do not present a fire risk to the safety of building occupants and, of course, to ensure legal compliance with the Fire Safety Order.

Internal ducting showing accumulation of fire hazardous grease deposits when cleaned only ‘as accessible’.At a recent seminar, a Fire Authority spokesman stated “Uncleaned grease extract ventilation systems present probably the greatest potential fire risk in buildings with catering facilities”. There is therefore both a ‘duty of care’ and a legal requirement to have in place a cleaning regime which will ensure that potentially flammable grease deposits which accumulate in the ducting are fully removed to safeguard the safety of building occupants."

Fire Hazardous Grease Deposits, Ductwork Cleaning


The HVCA’s TR19 Guide to Good Practice “Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems” sets out clearly the required compliance standards and how effectively ventilation systems should be cleaned. All Indepth Hygiene Services’ specialist ventilation cleaning is carried out in accordance with this standard. As a result, responsible managers can be confident their ventilation systems will fully perform their essential function of providing safe and hygienic conditions in healthcare premises.