UPMC, Construction Workers Fight Infection On The Job


By Jennifer C. Yates and Stephanie Stanley

Did you know there are about 700 construction workers at UPMC sites all over western Pennsylvania? Starting this month, they will now be required to have a new tool on the job: infection control training. 

The new rule took effect at UPMC on Nov. 1 after UPMC and the Greater Pennsylvania Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund worked together to create an eight-hour infection control training course for those in the building trades.

"This is a great program because it keeps our staff and patients safe but also keeps these workers safe as they work in and around our hospitals," said Jeffrey Clair, R.N., an infection control manager in UPMC's corporate construction office.

A similar course created by the national union already existed for carpenters and contractors. Local union leaders approached UPMC in 2010 about partnering with them to create the training for other construction workers. So far, about 3,000 local tradesmen have participated in the UPMC 8 Hour Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) Certification Program, which teaches among other things about keeping a clean work site and containing dust and other debris.

UPMC has been a leader in the prevention of hospital-acquired infections and has been named a Center of Excellence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its efforts.