How to Ensure Correct Door Use in Hygiene-Controlled Areas
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Hygiene-controlled areas exist for the purpose of specific activities that require a very clean environment. These are often found in food processing & preparation sites, laboratories, high-tech manufacturing (e.g. computer processor factories), and healthcare facilities. In a hygiene controlled area, doorways are naturally a focus for ensuring that contaminants are not brought in.
Keeping Your Hygiene-Controlled Area Protected – First Steps
You should regularly check doors (at least once a month, or daily/weekly in high-traffic areas) for signs of damage or wear that could compromise their ability to provide a seal against the outside environment. Remember, if you can fit a pencil through a hole in the door or the frame, then a mouse would be able to get into your hygiene controlled area. If damage is a regular issue, it may be time to consider what steps need to be taken to protect your industrial doors – more advice on this topic here. Another basic step is to ensure that any powered doors are fitted with a manual override, so that if the motor or operator is not working for any reason, staff will still be able to operate the door manually to ensure the hygiene controlled area remains protected. Finally, you should ensure your doors are regularly serviced. Not only will this reduce wear and tear, it can also provide early-warning of potential issues before they cause a hygiene breach. Industrial doors will inevitably become less efficient over time without regular servicing and adjustment by a trained professional.
Steps to reduce the occurrence of hygiene breaches in problem areas
Here are some points you should consider if you have a particular area that seems to frequently have hygiene issues. In other situations, the use of the doorway has changed over time, and the door itself needs replacing with something better suited to the current use. If you are not sure, why not consult an expert? (Hint: Tekta offer free on-site door assessments!)
Consider the benefits of installing an air lock (series of two or more doors) in problem areas:
- Reduce the risk of airborne contaminants being blown in, as one door will always be closed, reducing air movement from the outside environment
- Should a door or seal become damaged, there is another layer of protection with an airlock type system
- Increased user awareness resulting from having to pass through an airlock to enter a clean environment
Review signage and clean-down equipment to ensure that all users and visitors are aware of necessary steps to prevent a hygiene breech. Do the doors have a functioning auto-close function to ensure they are not inadvertently left open? Where doors are sometimes left open, or deliberately wedged open by users, consider adding a door-open alarm that sounds after a period of time (e.g. one minute).
Identify risks and plan for possible scenarios. For example, if you don’t have the space or budget for an airlock system, but you know there is a risk a door could be damaged and expose your hygiene controlled area to pollutants, then you could consider adding a hanging PVC curtain that can be used as an emergency barrier if the main one is out of action. We hope you found this article useful. Want to ensure you don’t miss future posts? Make sure you sign up to our email newsletter below! Tekta are the UK specialists for doorway systems for hygiene controlled areas, having experience with the specification, installation, and maintenance of industrial doors for household names from Dairy Crest to the NHS. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today with any door-related questions or concerns you might have.