Health experts are expecting the swine flu to return this year, so the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies will offer guides that can help your company prepare, and maybe even lessen the effects on your employees and on business.
In total, there are three resources the CDC and other agencies offer:
“Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to the 2009 – 2010 Influenza Season.” This document provide a list of “Actions Employers Should Take Now” including:
- Review or establish a flexible influenza pandemic plan and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected before flu season.
- Have an understanding of your organization’s normal seasonal absenteeism rates and know how to monitor your personnel for any unusual increases in absenteeism through the fall and winter.
- Engage state and local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information.
- Develop flexible leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for themselves or sick family members or for children if schools dismiss students or child care programs close.
- Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
The CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security have provided “A Communications Toolkit for Businesses and Employers” that offers:
- Q&As about CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to the 2009-2010 flu season
- A quick reference for business H1N1 flu planning and response
- Action steps to keep your business and employees healthy
- 8 ways you can stay healthy at work
- A poster for workplace entrances to remind sick employees to go home
- 3 template e-mails (or letters) for businesses to send to employees about the flu season and staying healthy
OSHA also has offers “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic,” which provides a number of measures to protect employees in the event of a flu pandemic, including how to tell if your workplace is at high risk.