4.4 Engineering Controls

Engineering controls refer to the modification of the physical spaces where there is a pathogenic risk present, such as hospitals and laboratories. A lot of hospitals, by design, have hazard rooms and restricted areas that can be used in a case of a widespread infection, epidemic, or pandemic.

However, when there is a rapid spread of a disease, such as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompt measures need to be taken to control the pathogen spread.

Engineering controls include allocating and separating entire floors or sections of hospitals where the infected individuals need to be brought and potentially quarantined. The hospitals ventilation, heating, and cooling systems must also be secured and possibly separated. Other measures can include portable units or temporary work areas set up for staff coming in contact with infected patients.

Outpatient care measures might include physical separation measures, use of safety gear, protective barriers, temperature control of the floors, air pressure control, and limited capacity of people present in small spaces.

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