ICRA Hospital Training for Contractors on Dust Containment
Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) is a critical part of any hospital construction project. However, the truth is that not every contractor or worker is properly trained in the importance of infection control before they jump into one of these critical situations. Training is paramount in building and growing a hospital construction business or career. Following are some tips for ensuring that your crew -- and yourself -- are properly trained and taking no unnecessary risks when it comes to dust containment and infection control.
Emphasize the Importance of Dust Containment from Day 1
For the uninitiated, it can be easy to see dust as merely an inconvenience. After all, it’s what is collecting on our bookshelves and underneath our sofas, so how dangerous can it be?
Dust and spores in hospitals are a leading cause of healthcare-associated infections, which are a leading cause of extended hospital stays and even death. Dust control is not just important; it is essential to maintaining a safe construction environment. It is not enough to assume that a contractor or construction worker will be able to tell what types of dust are dangerous and what is not. Instead, dust containment should be emphasized under the assumption that any dust could be potentially hazardous or even deadly to hospital patients.
Encourage (or Require) Formal Training
Formal training in ICRA protocol can be quite effective in emphasizing the importance of infection control at a job site. At minimum, supervisors should have a clear understanding of the level of risk their particular project presents to patients and workers, as well as the knowledge to choose and operate dust containment technology in order to minimize those risks.
A number of organizations offer hands-on training specifically directed towards contractors and construction professionals in ICRA, including:
- ECRI Institute
- Carpenters International Training Fund
- Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters
- Construction Infection Control Institute
Contractors interested in this type of training should search for a course in their area.
Enlist Hospital Personnel Where Possible
The hospital where a contractor is working will have its own infection control protocol in place, usually under the supervision of an infection control officer. If hospital personnel does not reach out to the construction team in regards to ICRA and training, the contractor should be sure to contact them. Hospital employees and administrators can be powerful allies in the quest for dust containment and healthy construction sites. When the contractor’s team and hospital infection control personnel are on the same team, compliance is much more likely.
Dust containment should never be an afterthought. Dust and debris are more than inconvenient, they represent serious threats to hospital patients and to construction workers and should be treated as such.