The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) has launched a new certification program to help workers in facility management and construction understand the complexities of the health care physical environment and assist hospitals with reducing construction-associated risks.

According to ASHE, the Certified Health Care Physical Environment Worker program (commonly referred to as the ASHE worker certification) covers important topics such as construction in health care facilities; infection control and prevention; fire and life safety; and utility system shutdowns—subjects that directly impact patient safety.

For contractors and subcontractors, passing the online certification exam can demonstrate to employers that they are ready to work in a hospital or other health care facility, program officials say. And for hospitals and health systems, the ASHE worker certification can help reduce risks associated with construction while saving time on internal orientation programs.

“Hospitals are different. We operate around the clock and we work hard to protect our patients from construction issues that may be common in other types of buildings, such as dust or noise,” says ASHE Deputy Executive Director Chad Beebe, AIA, CHFM, FASHE. “By requiring workers to earn this new certification, hospitals can reduce risks by ensuring people working in their facilities understand important patient safety concepts.”