Are You Prepared for the Threat of an Influenza Pandemic?
Officials believe companies worldwide should begin budget and pandemic planning now. To assist in this effort, ASSE offers the following suggestions:
A workplace should keep informed, develop a plan and implement public health programs are some of the tips offered to businesses and members in an ASSE article titled ‘Avian Flu: Infection Control Guidelines’. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it is suggested that communities, workplaces and individuals should:
- develop and implement preparedness plans as one would for other public health emergencies;
- participate and promote state and community public health efforts and implement prevention and control actions recommended by public health officials and providers who can supply information about the signs and symptoms of a specific disease outbreak and to communicate this information with employees;
- participate in influenza vaccination programs annually;
- participate in annual health promotion programs to prevent airborne, blood borne, waterborne, food borne and contact types of diseases and infections if you are a healthcare worker, school teacher, work in protecting public safety, prison population and an emergency responder;
- adopt business and school practices that encourage sick employees/students to stay home;
- anticipate how to function with a significant portion of the workforce/school population absent due to illness or caring for ill family members;
- practice good health habits;
- stay informed about pandemic influenza and be prepared to respond;
- use national and local pandemic hotlines that will be established in the event of a global influenza outbreak; and consult the White House web site for national and international information
Additional Resources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the World Health Organization; your state or local health department to notify them of any symptomatic employees or suspected exposure incidents; White House’s web site; and OSHA’s 'Guidance for Protecting Workers Against Avian Flu'. Click here for a full copy of the ASSE article.