Severe Pandemic Influenza and the Workplace
- Absenteeism—A pandemic could affect as many as 40% of the workforce during periods of peak influenza illness. Employees could be absent because they are sick, must care for sick family members or children if schools or daycare centers are closed, or are afraid to come to work.
- Change in patterns of commerce—During a pandemic, consumer demand for items related to infection control is likely to increase dramatically, while consumer interest in other goods may decline. Consumers may also change the ways in which they shop because of the pandemic. Consumers may try to shop at off-peak hours to reduce contact with other people, show increased interest in-home delivery services, or prefer other options, such as drive-through service, to reduce person-to-person contact.
- Interrupted supply/delivery—Shipments of items from those geographic areas severely affected by the pandemic may be delayed or canceled.
How Influenza Can Spread Between People
Maintaining Operations During a Pandemic
Develop a Disaster Plan
- Be aware of and review federal, state, and local health department pandemic influenza plans. Incorporate appropriate actions from these plans into workplace disaster plans.
- Prepare and plan for operations with a reduced workforce.
- Work with your suppliers to ensure that you can continue to operate and provide services.
- Develop a sick leave policy that does not penalize sick employees, thereby encouraging employees who have influenza-related symptoms to stay home so that they do not infect other employees. Recognize that employees with ill family members may also need to stay home to care for them.
- Identify possible exposure and health risks to your employees. Are employees potentially in contact with people with influenza such as in a hospital or clinic? Are your employees expected to have a lot of contact with the public?
- Minimize exposure to fellow employees or the public in the event of a pandemic. This may include telecommuting, staggered work shift, and/or increased use of email, telephone, and other technology to avoid close person-to-person contact.
- Identify business-essential positions and people required to sustain business-necessary functions and operations. Prepare to cross-train or develop ways to function in the absence of these positions.
- Plan for downsizing services but also anticipate any scenario that may require a surge in your services.
- Stockpile items such as soap, tissue, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and recommended personal protective equipment.
- Make sure that your disaster plan protects and supports your employees, customers, and the public. Be aware of your employees’ concerns about pay, leave, safety and health. Informed employees who feel safe at work are less likely to be absent.
- Identify a central team of people to serve as a communication source during a pandemic so that your employees and customers can have accurate information during the crisis.
- Work with your employees and their union(s) to address leave, pay, transportation, travel, child care, absence, and other human resource issues.
- Work with your insurance companies and state and local health agencies to provide information to employees and customers about medical care in the event of a pandemic.
Protect Employees and Customers
Avoiding the Spread of Influenza in the Workplace
- Encourage sick employees to stay at home.
- Encourage your employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or with hand sanitizer if there is no soap or water available. Also, encourage your employees to avoid touching their noses, mouths, and eyes.
- Encourage your employees to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeves if tissues are not available.
- Employees should avoid close contact with their coworkers and customers (maintain a separation of at least 6 feet). They should avoid shaking hands and always wash their hands after contact with others.
- Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles, and with a place to wash or disinfect their hands.
- Keep work surfaces, telephones, computer equipment, and other frequently touched surfaces and office equipment clean.
- Discourage your employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
- Minimize situations where groups of people are crowded together, such as in a meeting. Use email, phones, and text messages to communicate with each other. When meetings are necessary, avoid close contact by keeping a separation of at least 6 feet, where possible, and assure that there is proper ventilation in the meeting room.
- Promote healthy lifestyles, including good nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation. A person’s overall health affects their body’s immune system and can affect their ability to fight off, or recover from, an infectious disease.
Stay Connected To Government Agencies
Install A Photocatalytic Air Purifier At Work
Photocatalytic air purifiers are the only type of air purifier that is scientifically proven to destroy airborne & surface viruses in scientific experiments. They produce molecules such as superoxide & hydroxyl free radical molecules that eliminate harmful pathogens that are airborne or living on surfaces. By installing one of these units within your HVAC system or placing a unit in a facility, air quality and disease transmission can be dramatically reduced. There are several types of units are on the market that is actively designed to fit a variety of room sizes and industries. To learn more click, air purifier influenza.
Eagle Eye Resources Helps To Keep Your Work Environment Pathogen Free
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