Global Organizations Pledge Support to Mitigate Spread of Airborne Infectious Diseases Despite End of COVID-19 Pandemic ‘National Emergency’ Status
Commit To C.A.R.E. Initiative Urges Employers to Share Free Resources to Ensure Safe Communities, Workplaces
Six professional health and safety associations have joined a growing number of employers formally pledging their support to a nationwide program aimed to keep employees and communities safe from the ongoing threat of all airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19, flu and measles. Since its launch in 2022, Commit To C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) has attracted numerous businesses – as well as public health and occupational health and safety organizations – and provided them with free tools and resources to address these continued public health threats.
Despite President Biden’s signing a bipartisan congressional resolution on April 11, 2023, to bring the national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to a close, these organizations join dozens of others that remain dedicated to educating their members and employees about preventing pandemics caused by airborne illnesses:
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
- American Society for Safety Professionals (ASSP)
- Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP)
- Board of Global EHS Credentialing (BGC)
- The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR)
- Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene (SAIOH)
“We have seen time and time again how corporate America has risen to the challenge during trying times by helping their communities recover from everything from natural disasters to a pandemic,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan. “This type of leadership speaks volumes about how businesses are committed to ensuring the health and safety of their employees and communities. The Commit To C.A.R.E. program continues to attract both corporate and non-profit healthcare associations that recognize the value in mitigating the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace and beyond.”
AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community, launched the Commit To C.A.R.E. public education initiative in partnership with IBEC, The Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium. Funded by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/NIOSH, the Commit To C.A.R.E. initiative recently announced the availability of new free public education resources on its website that include risk assessment tools, indoor air quality tools, and vaccines & testing tools. To date, the CDC has awarded AIHA $620,000 to develop these new materials, which offer easily digestible information to help keep workers and the public safe from airborne-transmitted diseases, such as COVID-19, the flu, and measles – diseases that can wreak havoc on normal business operations.
Written in non-technical terms for a lay audience, the program’s comprehensive resources – available in nine different languages – are designed for various workplace settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and small businesses. Those multi-media tools aimed at non-healthcare settings are in line with CDC’s May 11 unprecedented guidance on ventilation in buildings. Commit To C.A.R.E. tools include micro-training videos (i.e., addressing the importance of control strategies such as ventilation and respiratory protection), checklists (including HVAC Optimization, Portable Air Cleaner Optimization, and COVID-19 Vaccination Policy FAQ), and free downloadable fliers and posters outlining simple safety tips that may be posted in places of business.
The six new organizations join a long list of partners in the Commit To C.A.R.E. program, including L’Oréal, National Safety Council, LIUNA Training & Education Fund, Household and Commercial Products Association, and Society of Critical Care Medicine, among others. All organizations believe that we all have a responsibility to one another to keep workers safe in any workplace setting.
Organizations interested in becoming a Commit To C.A.R.E. partner do not need to provide financial support to the program, simply their time and influence in sharing these vitally important knowledge products with their members and other appropriate audiences. Potential partners fill out a form on the Commit To C.A.R.E. website once they determine the level of in-kind support their organization will pledge to the effort. The three levels of support include endorse, endorse and share, and endorse, share and lead.
“The science of airborne disease transmission is complex, and these complexities can create some ambiguity about how these diseases can impact the workforce when people are working side-by-side either in a boardroom or an assembly line,” said Kenneth Martinez, Chief Science Officer at IBEC. “If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught employers it is that the spread of respiratory diseases cannot be underestimated. Employers need to continually assess the health risks posed in their workspaces, and the Commit To C.A.R.E. resources offer a tailored approach to training efforts across a spectrum of industries.”
For more information about becoming a Commit To C.A.R.E. partner, or accessing free multimedia resources such as checklists, posters, flyers, videos and to take the C.A.R.E. pledge, visit: Commit2Care.org.
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