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Swine Flu and Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace - Part II

Cross posted from:

Part I dealt with things you as a safety professional can do to protect your employees in the workplace. React appropriately, with enough emphasis on the issue to let the employees know that you are on top of it, but not to the extent that you panic them further.

Part II will deal with a safety professional's role in maintaining business continuity, and implementing an effective pandemic plan. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a written framework of instructions, and procedures which enable a business to respond to emergencies, disasters, and/or threats without any stoppage or hindrance in its key operations. A Pandemic Preparedness Plan is part of a Business Continuity Plan. I have included a list of resources to help prepare a pandemic plan at the end of this post.

Some key elements a safety professional will need to consider are:

  • Additional safety training as employees become cross-trained due to implementation of a pandemic preparedness plan, or increased absences.

  • A temporary workforce may be enacted to deal with absences. Safety training is from day one is imperative. This will need to include proper influenza hygiene reminders.

  • A safety plan must be in place that effectively deals with employees showing up for work exhibiting influenza symptoms. This plan will need to be appropriate for local and regional pandemic levels. If a company doesn't have a liberal leave policy consideration should be given to implementing one.

  • Appropriate and timely stockpiling, ordering and distribution of additional Personal Protective Equipment (face masks and disposable gloves)must be done. Train employees in the new PPE required as far as proper use, care and disposal.

  • If employees are doing more with less, consider additional breaks to allow muscles time to recover.

  • Additional Blood Borne Pathogenic training may be needed for all employees, with additional training for sanitary employees, supervisors, and those tapped to an emergency action team. Make sure there is enough PPE and trained employees to deal with emergency issues at work.

  • Communicate your Pandemic Plan in an appropriate and timely manner. Again let the employees know that you are on top of the issues but refrain from causing panic.

  • Track and update the availability of health care services available and add additional services as needed.

Business Preparedness and Pandemic Plan Resources:

Excellent Webinar:

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Comment by Pam Wilkinson on April 30, 2009 at 12:52pm
Sonoco's is here: see here for more information:

One for a small non-profit that looks easily adaptable:

A good one from the Tulsa Heath Organization:
Comment by Jeremy Heath on April 30, 2009 at 12:39pm
Anyone have (or know where to find) a sample pandemic flu contingency plan for businesses?

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