COVID-19 Workers to Be Provided With Training to Protect Own Health

The program will award grants for training and development of educational resources for employees in high risk occupations who serve the public during emergencies and who need skills to protect their own health.

After Congress passed a supplemental appropriation of $10 million on March 6 for worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among hospital employees, emergency responders, and other workers at risk through their jobs, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) intends to launch a website with important educational resources for those at risk.

Led by NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the program will award grants for training and development of educational resources for employees in high risk occupations who serve the public during emergencies and who need skills to protect their own health. The Worker Training Program (WTP) will also act as a clearinghouse among grant recipients to broadly share the training and educational resources developed with the grant money.

“These men and women are so dedicated and as they work so hard to serve and protect the public during this COVID-19 pandemic, I want to make sure they know how to protect their own health too,” Joseph “Chip” Hughes, head of NIEHS WTP said in a press release. “We don’t need them getting sick or taking the virus back to their families or their communities.”

The virtual safety training initiative will include emergency medical personnel, firefighters, law enforcement officers, environmental cleanup workers, high-risk custodial service workers, food processing and delivery workers, water and sewage treatment workers, sanitation workers, and health care facility employees.

Furthermore, a national workshop, titled “Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak” has been implemented by NIEHS to virtually bring together hundreds of the country’s infectious disease experts, nurses and health care providers, emergency response organizations, and academic training centers.

The NIEHS WTP has granted recipients with occupational safety training during multiple other events, including the anthrax attacks in 2001, the H5N1 outbreak in 2007, and the H1N1 avian influenza outbreak in 2009.

REFERENCE

COVID-19 workers to get training to protect their own health. NIH. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/covid-19-workers-get-training-protect-their-own-health. Published March 23, 2020. Accessed March 24, 2020.