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Can I have a portable air conditioner in my operatory?

I work in an office that is extremely hot! The air conditioning only works in half the office so it is very, very hot in my operatory. Can I have a portable air conditioner in my room or am I not allowed to because it spreads air borne particles?



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2 Answers

I searched the websites for the CDC, OSHA, and OSAP and couldn’t find anything about this. I have an email into OSAP inquiring, but haven’t heard back. If I get a reply, I will let you know. If you have a company that does your OSHA/infection control training for your office, you might consider reaching out to them. They might have an answer. Good question!

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OSAP got back to me and said (verbatim):
 
Upon researching this topic, “Ask OSAP” was able to find very little information pertaining to the use of portable heaters and portable air conditioners in the dental operatory.
 
There is an obvious concern regarding the use of portable fans (or other equipment with fan components) in a healthcare environment due to their potential to disperse contaminants.
 
Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team states as follows:
 
Cooling of warm packs should be done slowly to avoid the formation of condensation on the instruments. Use of a fan or blower in the sterilizing room to dry or cool down instruments is not recommended: this causes undue circulation of potentially contaminated room air around the packs. (1)
 
There is also an obvious concern regarding if patients or dental healthcare personnel were to accidentally come in contact with such equipment while in operation.
 
If there is a temperature control or ventilation problem, perhaps consultation with a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) specializing company is indicated.
 
Resources
 
1. Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Page 142.
 
_________________________
It looks like this is a gray area as far as actual rules or recommendations go. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a better answer for you!

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