Actavis Generics, formerly known as Watson Pharmaceuticals, contacted Airtek Indoor Air Solutions to perform a high-risk, professional air duct cleaning of their facility. Actavis focuses on developing and manufacturing commercialized branded pharmaceuticals, generic and over-the-counter medicines, and biologic products. Due to the toxicity levels and chemicals present, the air duct cleaning process was elevated to an extreme level of safety.
Actavis is a local manufacturer of various types of pharmaceuticals. The process and required level of safety depends upon what type of manufacturing is being done. This particular location of Actavis manufactures birth control pills. During the process, there is powder and other pollutants from active ingredients that become airborne and can create layers of harmful and infectious residue which adheres to ductwork in the buildings. Every year, Actavis shuts down the entire facility for a month to do preventative maintenance work to ensure the high level of health and safety to both employees and the consumer. It is extremely important that equipment and the work areas are thoroughly washed, including methodically cleaning the exhaust and HVAC equipment.
Airtek’s team had to be cleared by the Security Department at Actavis before work could begin. Security carefully checked every piece of equipment and conducted a full safety-debriefing for Airtek. Employees were required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which included a head-to-toe, two-piece, hooded body suit and double gloves. Gloves were doubled to prevent skin contact with any of the chemicals; even a small tear had to be reported immediately and treated. The chemicals at the site are extremely dangerous, especially if they become absorbed into pores or otherwise enter your system. Airtek was provided with Actavis’ list of on-site hazardous substances for identification and the protocol of handling the potentially dangerous chemicals during the cleaning process.
The job was defined by the on-site security staff through a detailed print, complete with start and end location. The scope of the project included thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the numerous exhaust systems throughout the plant.
The professional cleaning process began in the attic of each building where Airtek pre-filtered everything into high-efficiency particulate arrestance (aka HEPA filters). This type of air filter is designed to capture 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3μm (micrometer, one-thousandth of a millimeter, 0.001 mm, or about 0.000039 inch). The team then moved to the lower level of the facility and cleaned from the grills back to the roof. This multi-building facility is equipped with bombproof exhaust systems. There are also multiple piping and CO2 tanks. For these reasons, extreme caution is taken to prevent any flames or sparks. If the damper is triggered, it closes within a second and the CO2 is diffused. All equipment used on the project must be fire retardant and non-explosive, such as static proof vacuum hoses, wands, and brushes. Failure to follow safety protocol around these flammable chemicals could cause serious harm.
The Airtek team finished up with a comprehensive cleaning of the exhaust fans on the roof. As part of the clean-up, Airtek ensures that all materials are properly discarded or are turned over to Actavis on-site security for disposal. Anything used is considered hazardous, possibly contaminated and must therefore be removed. Large equipment may be decontaminated, but Actavis security inspects and approves all equipment before it is removed from the site. Due to the complexity of this job, it took a total of four weeks to complete with eight man crews, every day.
By routinely cleaning the exhaust systems, manufacturers such as Actavis, eliminate thousands of chemicals that would otherwise be lingering in the buildings. Airtek is in the profession of safely restoring clean air into a facility to ensure a healthy work environment.