The flu is always a problem during the fall and winter months. As the virus in its various strains picks up, workers not only suffer from the sickness, they miss days of work as a result, causing delays in production.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your workers from the flu and reduce sick days:
1. Encourage Workers to Get Vaccinated
Although vaccines aren’t perfect because their effectiveness depends on the accuracy of the predictions on which strains of the virus will be most active each season, vaccines do reduce instances of the flu. You may consider hosting a flu vaccination clinic in your workplace.
2. Encourage Sick Workers to Stay Home
Although you need your workers to get jobs done, the flu spreads quickly. You’ll reduce the impact of the flu if you encourage sick workers to stay home. The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends, without the use of medication, to prevent the spread of the illness.
We recommend developing flexible policies that encourage workers to stay home, without penalty, if they are sick.
3. Promote Hand Hygiene and Cough Etiquette
It sounds simple, but washing your hands prevents getting sick. Similarly, if workers are coughing without covering their mouths, sickness will spread. Post signs that explain the steps for proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Although most everyone knows these facts, the reminder may help them actually follow through.
It’s always possible that the flu will be exceptional viral, such as the instance of H1N1 a few years ago. In this case, it’s especially important to take measures to prevent the flu from spreading. OSHA has an excellent resource for employers that you can access here.
image credit: CDC