INDOOR AIR QUALITY A PRIORITY NOW AT USM, IN ADDITION TO THE SOPs, TO CURB THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

**USM Facilities** 

Let us together be part of the effort and to be resilient while abiding the SOPs in ensuring that the University and its community will be free of COVID-19.

USM PENANG, 3 March 2021 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has taken and is taking various steps to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the wellbeing of its community as well as the surrounding population.

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It is a well-known fact that COVID-19 is airborne and can spread further in poorly ventilated spaces.

Therefore, USM is taking steps to ensure that the rooms to be used for face-to-face interaction (F2F) will have good interior air quality.

The UKKP (Occupational Safety and Health Unit) at the USM Main Campus has been tasked to oversee the indoor air quality of rooms which will be used by students and staff for academic and administrative purposes, in addition to other related activities.

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The head of UKKP, Mohammad Zaip Ahmad and his team have been utilising the Multi-Gas Analyzer (model SKY8000-M5-H) to determine the air quality (in parts per million/ppm) in various rooms.

The 7 rooms which have undergone testing are the USM Nerve Centre, the UKKP Office and Meeting Room, Security Department Front Desk/Counter area, Microbiology Lab at the School of Biological Sciences, Pusat Sejahtera Clinical Front Desk/Counter area and DTSP VIP Room, with more premises to be identified and tested soon.

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The recommended upper limit for any given enclosed space is 1,000ppm, which is the maximum acceptable level set by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

However, the University has decided to go with 750ppm as the maximum allowable limit.

UKKP will be simulating the increase in CO2 over time at the Dewan Pembangunan Siswa (DPS) 1 and DPS 2, to get the necessary required readings.

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Stickers/posters indicating the indoor CO2 level taken before, during and after an activity is conducted with a permissible number of people in the premise, will be put at the entrance of rooms which have been tested and identified.

Preliminary plans are underway for similar measurements to be conducted at selected premises especially those frequently used, at the other campuses too.

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Let us together be part of the effort and to be resilient while abiding the SOPs in ensuring that the University and its community will be free of COVID-19.

#USMSelfReliance #USMSharedResilience

Text: Mazlan Hanafi Basharudin/Photo: Mohamad Zaidi Jaini & UKKP 

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