Preparing for the Flu (Including 2009 H1N1)
September 1, 2009
By: Lisa A. McGarrity
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance for employers to assist them in preparing for pandemic influenza. The guidance can be found at www.flu.gov.
CDC advocates beginning preparations immediately. Recommendations include:
- Review your current pandemic flu plan, if any, or develop a plan if you do not already have one. Consider how you will protect employees and continue business operations.
- Engage your state and local health department to confirm channels of communication and methods of dissemination of local outbreak information.
- Review employee leave, alternate work schedule, and telecommuting policies; consider adopting flexible policies, consistent with public health recommendations. Take into consideration that ill employees will need to stay home to avoid infecting others and that healthy employees may need to stay home to care for ill family members and/or children affected by day-care center and school closings.
- Add a "widget" or "button" to your company Web page or intranet so that employees can easily access the latest information on the flu.
- Stock up on supplies such as tissues, soap, and alcohol-based cleaners.
- Provide training to employees regarding cough/sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene. Encourage employees to stay home if they are sick. Encourage employees to get vaccinated for seasonal flu and H1N1 flu, when that vaccine becomes available.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and items such as doorknobs, faucets, telephones, and keyboards.