In an average year, one in ten people in the US come down with the flu. Although the flu virus is perfectly capable of infecting people at any time of year, it’s most active during flu season which typically runs from December through February. With COVID-19 threatening to overwhelm the nation’s healthcare system, helping to keep your workers safe this year takes on added importance.
The US Department of Labor recently published a blog post with practical tips on how employers can help keep their workers safe this season. We’ve summarized their key findings below. And as a bonus, many of their recommendations for controlling the spread of the flu are also best-practices for preventing COVID-19 transmission.
Encourage Your Workers to Get a Flu Shot
Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies year-to-year, it’s always better than not being vaccinated. If your health insurance plan pays for it, highlight that benefit in your company newsletter or send it out in an email. Make it easy for them to say yes by letting them arrive late or leave early to go get one.
Encourage Staying Home When Sick
Especially for employees who don’t have sick leave, coming in to work sick is something that’s often done out of necessity. Emphasize how important it is to stay home when they’re not feeling well so one sick employee doesn’t turn into four or five.
Clean Frequently-Touched Surfaces
Make cleaning commonly shared equipment like copiers or fax machines a priority. Encourage cleaning after each use by placing a container of sanitizing wipes within easy reach.
Avoid Sharing Equipment When Possible
Whenever possible, don’t share work equipment. When sharing is a must, give the equipment a thorough cleaning with disinfectant before reuse.
Practice Social Distancing
Staying six feet apart from coworkers doesn’t just work for preventing COVID-19 transmission. It can also reduce your chances of catching the flu.
Keep Masks On
Wearing a mask prevents a number of respiratory diseases from spreading, the flu virus included. Whenever possible, make mask-wearing a priority, especially indoors.
Encourage Hand Washing
Whether it’s washing with warm soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizing gel, keeping your hands clean is one of the easiest, most effective ways of preventing illness. Make it easy for your employees to practice good hand cleaning hygiene by placing hand sanitizer bottles in a number of easy-to-access areas and making sure that soap dispensers in the restrooms stay full.
If you want to learn more about our employee safety programs or have questions about our COVID-related safety consulting service, please give us a call at (864) 979-6676. We’re happy to answer any questions you have.