Building health and safety rating scheme tackles COVID-19
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has launched a WELL Health-Safety rating scheme for buildings. This is the outcome of research into the response needed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic by an IWBI taskforce of experts from the health sector, government and business.
To achieve a WELL rating, building owners and occupiers have to submit their health and safety policies, strategies and protocols for review. Businesses that want to have the buildings rated as part of this worldwide scheme can do so as of June 2020. Among the buildings that can apply are retail premises, manufacturing plants, theatres, restaurants, schools, entertainment venues and multi-occupant housing.
The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Richard Carmona said:
“People are learning that buildings themselves can be powerful vehicles for protecting and improving public health. All of us individually have a responsibility to the collective whole to use every tool, including our buildings and our sense of community, to keep ourselves and those we care about safe.”
People returning to work need assurance that their workplaces will be safe, which means much more than just wearing PPE (personal protective equipment). There has to be attention paid to building ventilation systems, access to washing facilities, protective screens and how social distancing can be achieved.
A building that has a high WELL Health-Safety rating increases confidence in both staff and customers that they are protected from the virus in work premises open for business after the lockdown.