- In what the company says is an industry first, East Coast-based LeChase Construction has opened a training center to teach its workers how to contain dust, contaminants and noise during construction projects in hospitals, research facilities and other critical settings.
- Situated at LeChase's Armonk, New York, office, the Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) Training Center will cover negative air pressure, containment barriers and housekeeping strategies that are designed to help keep patients, staff and administrators safe while renovation projects take place. The first training sessions will begin there this month.
- Trainees will learn a variety of best practices, including using temporary hard barriers to contain construction work areas, use of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to remove dust and other contaminants and personal protection and cleaning techniques to maximize the effectiveness of the system.
When a hospital or research lab undertakes renovations, it is essential that patients and staff be protected from the dust and noise generated by the work. Construction firms must adhere to rigorous standards and methodical procedures to safeguard patients, health care teams and laboratory staff.
LeChase's new training center occupies a 2,000-square-foot portion of the company's warehouse and offers classroom and hands-on instruction.
"We are always trying to develop best practices in keeping [healthcare] environments clean," said David Campbell, vice president of LeChase's Armonk office. "In the past, facilities themselves were training grounds. When we started a construction project at a hospital or research facility, they become excellent training grounds. Now we’re trying to take it off site and develop best practices in controlling dust and noises in a controlled environment."
LeChase hired a retired hospital director of infection control as its instructor and to help the company develop a curriculum. Trainees will come from the ranks of LeChase employees and some of its subcontractors. "We've also received interest from some of our healthcare clients in bringing some of their employees [to training sessions] as well," Campbell said.
What was the prime challenge in getting the ICRA Training Center off the ground? Campbell believes it was identifying practices common to the different environments in which the company works.
"Every client has different needs, every facility is set up differently, every work site may be different," he said. "Finding commonalities between them was one of the prime challenges. And finding a very simple way to teach those concepts was a challenge. The instructor was helpful in addressing that issue."
The timing of the training center's inception during the COVID-19 era makes it even more valuable, Campbell said, since strategies used to reduce spread of the virus are in some ways similar to those for mitigating construction dust and contaminants. Both dust and COVID-19 are transmitted through the air.
"We’re trying to make environments dust free, so if people are affected by COVID, they won't additionally be impacted by construction dust," he said.
Like other construction companies contracted to undertake hospital renovation projects, LeChase trains its staff to ensure procedures are regular, repeatable and consistent, he said. Five or ten years down the road, Campbell wants the education imparted in the training center to be part of the fabric of what the company provides clients.
"The manner in which we operate will be clean and minimize noise," he said. "Our operations will reflect that standard. The training center will be a differentiator for us. It will set us apart and make a difference in what companies clients select."