Training Responds to Industry Needs

Construction ICRA: Best Practices in Healthcare Construction

Hospital administrators across North America face dollars-and-cents decisions that can mean life or death. An aging population and a tight economy add to the pressure.

In this environment more providers are opting for remodeling of existing facilities instead of building new ones. That shift creates new challenges and potential risks, including exposing patients to contaminants that can lead to hospital-acquired infections, which kill more than 100,000 people yearly in the United States and Canada.

Adding to the human costs are the medical costs of these infections, which range as high as $45 billion a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In response to the needs of the medical community and contractors that serve it, the Carpenters International Training Fund (CITF) developed an innovative training and qualification program that teaches members how to reduce the risk of contamination while working in occupied healthcare facilities.

Construction ICRA: Best Practices in Healthcare Construction delivers comprehensive skill-sets for containing pathogens, controlling airflow, protecting patients, and productively performing work without disrupting adjacent operations.

“Hospitals regularly need to remodel to incorporate new technologies, and they must adapt to keep pace with a growing senior population,” said CITF Executive Director Bill Irwin. “Member training in this type of work provides important safeguards to patients as well as new avenues of employment for our members and a competitive advantage to our signatory contractors.”

The Construction ICRA Best Practices course teaches awareness of hazards, including asbestos, lead, mold, silica, and other materials, as well as blood-borne pathogens and other hospital-specific concerns. Trainees learn how to identify and classify work areas to best minimize risks, illness, and injury.

“Our members show every day they can work safely on these challenging jobs and still be valuable workers for their contractors,” said Rick Okraszewski, training director for the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters.

“Because of the care our members take and the skills they display, we developed a strong relationship with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which operates more than 30 facilities, including a number of major hospitals, in western Pennsylvania,” Okraszewski said. “And that care and skill come from the hours spent learning how to work safely and productively in a unique environment.”

The ICRA training developed by the UBC CITF is proving to be the right prescription for managers of healthcare facilities, who more and more are opting for remodeling instead of building new.  

Watch ICRA Video

Full-scale mockups and equipment produce clean, safe productivity—the heart of UBC Construction ICRA training like this.