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ANSI COVID-19 News: An Updated Health Care Facility Ventilation Standard and Planning for a Safe Return to the Workplace


The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

ASHRAE Announces Update to Health Care Facility Ventilation Standard

ASHRAE this month released an updated edition of the American National Standard, ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care FacilitiesThe standard offers guidance to designers of health care facilities.

The 2021 edition incorporates content in support of the new framework introduced in 2017, which expanded the standard into three distinct sections: hospital spaces, outpatient spaces, and residential healthcare spaces in alignment with the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) publications.

The 2021 edition delivers critical guidance for designers and operators of these front-line facilities and incorporates 17 addenda to the 2017 edition of the standard. Changes include:

  • expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions;
  • revised scope, with improved guidance on thermal comfort conditions provided;
  • extensive modifications to address the Outpatient and Residential sections;
  • extensive revisions to air filtration requirements;
  • addition of new columns in the ventilation tables to prescribe filtration requirement and designate unoccupied turndown;
  • expanded guidance on separation distance requirements for varied intake and exhaust arrangements, coordinating with related ASHRAE Standard 62.1 data; and
  • improved guidance related to behavioral and mental health.

Access more information via ASHRAE's recent news item.

Q&A with ASSP President Deb Roy on Planning for a Safe Return to the Workplace

As vaccinations ramp up and offices begin to re-open around the country, organizations may face multiple challenges while they accommodate staff returning to work. In a recent Q&A feature article by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), ASSP president Deb Roy explained some steps employers can take to protect employee health and safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She also addressed the psychosocial aspects of transitioning back to the workplace.

Read the article on ASSP's website or access the full interview via ASSP's The Case for Safety Podcast.

Also in support of safe back-to-office practices, ASSP's other new podcast on Keeping a Safe Distance at Work covers Amazon’s Distance Assistant technology. The open-source innovation is supporting the health and safety of Amazon employees through improved physical distancing.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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