ASSE 12000 certification training gives you the knowledge needed to have a successful career working with hospital staff and patients – it gives you knowledge of bacteria and viruses, how they can harm you and immunocompromised individuals, and gives you the understanding needed to protect yourself and patients. ASSE 120000 certification ensures that individuals take full responsibility in knowing and understanding the standards within ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI Series 12000, Professional Qualifications Standard for the Health and Safety of Construction and Maintenance Personnel, by using third-party training and examination. The standard series covers waterborne bacteria, such as legionella, and how it’s contracted; viruses, such as HIV and hepatitis; and types of mold, such as aspergillus and OPIM (other potentially infectious materials). Every individual who carries the ASSE 12000 certification has successfully completed OSHA 10 or OSHA 30, and has scored a minimum 80 percent on an exam covering standards ASSE 12010, 12030, and 12040. Certification holders must recertify every three years by completing a minimum one hour of classroom training and passing a 25-question exam covering the three standards. We know that protecting the patient is first and foremost, but ASSE International has taken steps to protect the worker. When protecting the worker and the workplace, we are taking added steps to protect the patients.
After training to the ASSE 12010 standard, the certified individual will be able to recognize possible exposure, the criteria for work, cleaning, and disposal of the proper PPE, and know employer responsibilities. ASSE 12010 covers mode of transmission, pathogens, biohazards, and infectious diseases, just to name a few.
After training to the ASSE 12030 standard, the certified individual will recognize sources of waterborne pathogens, such as Legionella, know how water temperature directly affects growth, and how microorganisms, bacteria, and OPIM may be transmitted.
ASSE 12040 covers Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs), ICRA (Infection Control Risk Assessment), and life safety plans. After training to the standard, the certified individual will understand control barriers, housekeeping, interruption of utility services, walk-off mats, and ways of breaking the infectious chain.
By putting these standards together, we’ll now have a trained individual who can protect themselves, staff, the public, and their family, but most importantly, protect the patient.
The importance of this for hospitals is in securing the most qualified individuals to construct, remodel, or repair areas in their facility. What this does for hospitals is gives them the confidence to continue to grow and upgrade their facility, and help ensure that we have the best healthcare we can get. By us, the workers, doing our part, we help patients have shorter stays in hospitals. Short stays in hospitals mean more patient turnover, which means profit. Using qualified individuals also means cutting down on HAIs, which helps cut cost of insurance. One in three HAIs are fatal – that’s about 99,000 people each year who die from an HAI, the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. So, when a hospital looks to qualified individuals to break the chain of infection, they are really looking to save a life, which, to me, is priceless.
In summation, the ASSE 12000 is very important to hospitals. Why?
1) Protection of patients and staff.
2) Protection of visitors.
3) Protection of the worker themselves.
4) Cost savings and profit.
When I first introduced the ASSE 12000 certification to the hospitals in which we work, they were very interested in listening. Some of the staff felt under-informed and very eager to learn more. I made no comparisons to other programs, but pointed out the positives of having certified individuals. I have been in the healthcare industry for 25 years and have experiences from the good (present), the bad (past 5-10 years), and the ugly (10 years past) to share. Hospitals want to know that you really want to be there to protect their interests. Help them with questions, show them you are knowledgeable in this area, invite them to sit in on ASSE 12000 class, and don’t be afraid to share what you’re teaching or learning with them. Build confidence and trust. I have done these few things, and now hospital staff (ICRA managers) call and ask for help, even if it does not involve us. If we are on the project, they ask what we are going to do and how we are going to protect all involved, and then they make the ICRA plan off of our recommendations.
When working in a hospital, keep in mind that doing the right thing, not only when someone is watching, but also when nobody’s watching, is your responsibility. Patient and staff responsibilities fall upon everyone on the job site, not just a few. Always remember that to save one life is priceless. Treat the person next to you as if you are related to them.
Learn more about the ASSE 12000 at www.asse-plumbing.org/certifications.html.