After a long break due to COVID-19, the Finishing Trades Institute opened its classroom doors. In an effort to protect our members and keep them safe, the iFTI offered a three-day course on Pandemic Resiliency. IUPAT Health and Safety Director Bernie Mizula trained instructors to understand infectious diseases and how they can affect the work environment. In addition, he provided them with tools to develop a Pandemic Plan to reduce the impact on the work environment.
This class is the result of the iFTI being a recipient of the Susan Harwood Grant from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The iFTI also received an additional Susan Harwood grant for just under $200,000 to deliver the training locally at our affiliate training centers.
We asked Mr. Mizula to provide insight on the purpose and the benefits this course gives to our members.
What is the purpose of this class?
The purpose of the class is to educate participants on the basic concepts of infectious diseases (with specific material on COVID-19 in addition to infectious diseases in general), how they can harm not just individuals, but organizations (like businesses) and entire communities and then train them in “best practice” health and safety control methods to protect the health of workers and an organizations survivability all while contributing to the public good.
How will this class benefit in getting union members back at work?
The class will benefit our members by giving them a foundational understanding of infectious diseases, and how to design and implement “best practice” health and safety controls to reduce infectious diseases impact. This all culminates with students understanding concepts of risk assessment, health and safety control for infectious diseases, pre-planning for pandemics and how to develop a Pandemic Plan to ensure business resiliency and continuity of operations by identifying areas at risk to infectious diseases and then designing and implementing control strategies; all which is laid out in a written Pandemic Plan. Businesses that have a Pandemic Plan (and in our recent case, a COVID-19 Plan) will likely have a lower disease transmission rate due to the fact the business has “pre-planned” for the worst and put in place health and safety controls to protect workers and trained them on the details and requirements of their Pandemic Plan; this in turn helps to keep workers “infection free” and keep the jobsite open.
The course also trains IUPAT instructors to track the spread or impact of infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) and provides resources enabling them to check statistics State and within their community. The class is designed to ensure our instructors train our members to be safe, protected and most of all prepared for potential risks on and off the jobsite.
Look for this course to be available at your district council in the near future.
This material was produced under grant number SH-99047-SH0 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.