May 12, 2021

NIEHS Updates Worker Training Resources for COVID-19

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has released a new training resource, the Building Programs to Protect Workers Training Tool, which replaces the Essential and Returning Workers Training Tool as of April 2021. The tool is designed to inform workers on how to protect themselves and their coworkers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and is available in downloadable PDF and PowerPoint presentation forms. The updated training tool builds on the previous version by adding an icebreaker discussion that asks workers about their concerns related to COVID-19 on the job, at home, and in their communities. The new version also adds a graphic illustrating virus transmission as well as information on asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission, vaccines, portable air cleaners, and the use of ultraviolet light to disinfect air. The tool’s module on mental health and pandemic stress now includes study data on the mental health of U.S. adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tool’s modules cover basic information about COVID-19 and its spread, treatment, and prevention; workers’ right to refuse unsafe work; assessing risks and evaluating job hazards; implementing the hierarchy of controls; using personal protective equipment; and more. The PowerPoint version of the tool includes notes for presenters.

NIEHS cautions that the tool by itself is not sufficient training for workers who may be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 on the job. According to the institute, personnel must also be trained in their employers’ site-specific policies and procedures, and that training must include practice until workers demonstrate confidence and competency using PPE, following decontamination procedures, and using other protective measures.

For more information or to view NIEHS’ other COVID-19 tools, visit the program’s COVID-19 webpage.