February 1, 2023 (Falls Church, VA) – With health experts warning of the triple threat of continued spread of new COVID-19 variants, flu and RSV this winter, the need for employers to contain the spread of various infectious diseases among employees and their communities is as important as ever. Now, a newly launched public education initiative Commit To C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) is helping employers who commit to pledge their support to this effort by providing them with free tools and resources to address this continued health threat. L’Oréal, the world’s leading beauty brand, is the latest global employer to sign on as Commit To C.A.R.E. partners under its Safe@Work-Safe@Home initiative.
AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community, in partnership with IBEC, The Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium, have launched Commit To C.A.R.E., a public education initiative that provides free tools and resources addressing environmental mitigation strategies, such as engineering and administrative controls, and respiratory protection for employers and their employees. The web portal encourages companies to commit to reducing the risk of infectious disease transmission in the workplace and surrounding communities by adopting practical measures, such as enhanced introduction of outdoor air and filtration measures. These best practices help protect building occupants against the aerosol transmission of the virus. The initiative is funded by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Since its launch in 2021, the Commit To C.A.R.E. program has attracted a growing number of partners who recognize the value of implementing enhanced safety measures to protect their employees, their families and the greater community from preventable health risks,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan. “Our goal is to continue to attract global leaders to this program and applaud L’Oréal for pledging their commitment and recognizing the long-term value of implementing sound strategies to mitigate the transmission of these dangerous viruses.”
Written in non-technical terms for a lay audience, the program’s comprehensive resources -- available in nine different languages -- 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), a web-based interactive assessment tool, and free downloadable fliers and posters outlining simple safety tips on a range of topics specific to the workplace.
Businesses, as well as public health and occupational health and safety organizations, continue to join the Commit To C.A.R.E. initiative. These include National Safety Council, Society for Critical Care Medicine, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, ABSA International, and Indoor Air Quality Association Australia, 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 support their organization will pledge to the effort. The three levels of support include endorse, endorse and share, and endorse, share and lead.
There are several ways employers and employees can get involved, including:
- • Share information about Commit To C.A.R.E with your employers and clients. Visit: https://commit2care.org/cdc-resources to download a tool kit of materials to get started;
- • Request that your employer send an email to employees asking them to take the Commit To C.A.R.E. pledge;
- • Ask your employer to include information about Commit To C.A.R.E. in the company newsletter and on social media;
- • Tell colleagues in your company about Commit To C.A.R.E.;
- • Ask a business owner you know to take the pledge and Commit To C.A.R.E.;
- • Send Commit To C.A.R.E. videos, checklists, etc. that you download to friends and family via email or your social media network!
"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 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.
AIHA is the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, networks, comprehensive education programs, and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional and competency standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed across the public and private sectors, as well as to the communities in which they work.
In 2020, AIHA developed the “Back to Work Safely” initiative to help small businesses get back to work safely with business sector-specific guidelines and resources. AIHA’s Back to Work Safely Guidelines, 2nd Edition, are now available for small to mid-size businesses in 27 sectors. The free guidance documents, available in English and Spanish, provide clear and actionable steps towards the safe operations of a variety of workplaces through prevention, early detection, and control of COVID-19. The 2nd editions offer practical guidance for employers to implement multiple layers of risk mitigation strategies in order of most effective to least effective – through the elimination of a hazard, substitution of a hazard, use of engineering controls (e.g., increased ventilation and air filtration), administrative controls (e.g., staggered shifts), and personal protective equipment (e.g., respirators and gloves). For more information, please visit www.healthierworkplaces.org.
IBEC, the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium, strives to bridge the gap between science and real-world applications so that people can feel safe gathering together again in indoor spaces. A membership-based organization founded in March 2020, IBEC brings together scientists, OEHS professionals, disaster response, and healthcare specialists to help accelerate the contributions of science and technology for healthily built environments. For more information, please visit www.weareibec.org.