Ventilation/Temperature/Relative Humidity - Dental Health Settings - Instrument Processing

What is the requirement that addresses ventilation/temperature/relative humidity for instrument processing areas in dental health settings?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only. 

There are no requirements for ventilation, temperature, and humidity for instrument processing areas in dental settings within business occupancies.  The 2003 and 2016 CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in the Dental Health-Care Settings require instrument processing areas to have distinct spaces for:
  • Receiving, cleaning, and decontamination
  • Preparation and packaging
  • Sterilization
  • Storage
If possible, walls or partitions should separate each section to control traffic flow and contain contaminants generated during processing.  However, this is not required, and if not separated, the employees shall be trained to keep dirty work practices separate from clean areas.  Ideally, air should flow from the clean side to the dirty side.

In new or renovated construction within a hospital setting, we would expect to see physically separate areas for clean and dirty functions. In the hospital setting, the CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008) would apply, wherein it states “Physical barriers should separate the decontamination area from the other sections to contain contamination on used items.”  This is consistent with AAMI ST79 Section 3.3.6.1.1, which states that the decontamination room should be separate within hospital settings.

In existing construction, this may not be possible. From AAMI ST79: “It might not be feasible for existing facilities to fully comply with the recommendations for physical separation of functional work areas; however, compliance is practical and desirable during new construction and major modifications. Interim measures that allow for functional separation (e.g., through airflow patterns or separation of activities) should be considered until such time as physical separation can be achieved.”

The Joint Commission standard EC.02.05.01 EP 15 references NFPA 99-2012, which includes ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2008, or state design requirements if more stringent for temperature, pressure, and humidity requirements.  This applies to hospital and outpatient facilities that were built, altered, or renovated after July 5, 2016. This document states that soiled workroom shall be negative with a temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and no humidity requirement. The Clean workroom shall be positive, with temperature between 72-78 and a maximum relative humidity of 60%. For existing facilities (prior to July 5, 2016), you may comply with either these requirements, or the requirements that were in effect at the time of construction. In existing one-room layouts, the air flow within the room shall be from clean to dirty (with negative air flow overall).

For more information on dental health care settings in business occupancy click here and here.
For more information on disinfection and sterilization in hospital settings click here.

Reference EC.02.05.01 
Last updated on June 19, 2020
Manual: Hospital and Hospital Clinics
Chapter: Environment of Care EC

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