March 30, 2023

New Training Tool Focuses on Respiratory Infections at Work

A new training tool developed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) focuses on infectious agents in workplaces that can cause respiratory infections and illnesses. The tool is intended to improve workers’ and employers’ understanding of what causes respiratory infections as well as to provide information regarding measures that can protect workers from infections. Available in PowerPoint and PDF formats, the training tool contains three modules that cover the basics of respiratory infection, how to assess the risk of exposure in the workplace, and methods to prevent exposures and infections.

The training tool aims to enable participants to describe the types of infectious agents that can cause respiratory infections or illnesses; how respiratory agents are transmitted from people, animals, insects, and other vectors or sources; respiratory infections and illnesses that are common in workplaces; and how to prevent the spread of infectious agents and protect themselves from respiratory infections and illnesses.

WTP notes that the guidance contained in this training is not intended for workplaces that deal directly with infected persons, animals, or other contaminated sources such as water. It is also not suitable for public health and medical guidance for “significant infectious disease outbreaks,” including pandemics. According to WTP, these events “require frequent updates specific to the nature of the event[s].”

The new training tool and additional resources for protecting workers in industries with the potential for exposure to infectious diseases can be found on the NIEHS website.