by Brianna Crandall — September 14, 2020 — In the fight against COVID-19, custodians and other building services personnel are essential frontline workers. To help ensure that they know how to maintain safe and healthy working environments for building occupants as well as themselves, a national union of property service workers has partnered with a national authority on healthy and effective cleaning and facility care on a comprehensive COVID-19 training course available to tens of thousands of frontline custodians.
The SEIU 32BJ COVID-19 custodian digital training course, endorsed by Green Seal for accuracy and health and environmental impact, arms building service workers with training to protect themselves while maintaining safe, healthy building environments during the pandemic.
Nationwide, building service workers provide a frontline defense against infectious diseases such as COVID-19 in homes, workplaces, offices, schools, shopping areas and public spaces. Lack of training on proper cleaning and disinfection practices, appropriate cleaning products and equipment, and use of personal protective equipment can expose workers and building occupants to unsafe levels of hazardous chemicals while failing to protect them from COVID-19.
SEIU 32BJ’s Thomas Shortman Training, Scholarship and Safety Fund created a comprehensive COVID-19 custodian digital training course for its members that covers everything from the characteristics of airborne infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens to safe and effective COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures, proper use of personal protective equipment, and guarding against workplace injuries.
SEIU 32BJ President Kyle Bragg stated:
Essential building service workers have been on the front lines during this pandemic, putting their health on the line to protect Americans — in some cases, without enough training, equipment or support. Our members take great pride in their professionalism and public service. This valuable training course arms workers with information they need to advocate for healthy building environments and to protect themselves on the job as they do the essential work of protecting everyone else.
The 32BJ Training Fund is a joint labor-management partnership that offers training to eligible participants at no cost. The fund is supported by contributions negotiated between 32BJ SEIU and participating employers, with a mission to train every participant to grow to the next level and continually raise the standards of the industry.
Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal, remarked:
The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the vital role of the frontline workers who safeguard the places where we live, work and learn. Custodial workers without proper support were already significantly more likely to suffer injuries and respiratory damage than workers in other fields — and their health risks are exponentially more severe amid this pandemic. Green Seal is proud to support SEIU’s crucial training resources for the building service workers who show up every day to keep our spaces healthy and our families safe.
A premier national nonprofit ecolabelling organization and a recognized authority on cleaning for health, Green Seal last month publicly released Guidelines for Safer COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection that spell out effective and responsible cleaning practices for occupant health and safety during the pandemic.
With more than 30,000 Green Seal certified products used in America’s buildings, schools and homes, the global nonprofit is a leader in product health and environmental certifications. In addition, thousands of offices, schools and colleges follow the best practice guidelines of Green Seal’s commercial cleaning leadership standard — GS-42 — which sets strict requirements for safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting practices and rigorous training requirements.
With more than 175,000 members, SEIU 32BJ is one of the largest union of property service workers in the US. With members in 12 states, primarily in the Northeast, SEIU 32BJ members work as janitors, property maintenance workers, doormen, security officers, window cleaners, building engineers, airport, school and food service workers. Members work for private employers, the public sector, and companies receiving government contracts. They work in office, apartment and government buildings; airports and shopping malls; public schools, colleges and universities; stadiums, theaters, museums and country clubs.