The cold and flu season are in full swing, and every business operator and manager lives in fear of their whole office or workplace being overtaken by an epidemic of illness that has your whole staff down for the count. It’s vital to keep your workplace sanitary and clear of dangers in order to make sure your staff remain healthy throughout the season. Here are some important tips to make sure you keep your workplace clear of the cold and flu virus this winter season.
OSHA Cold and Flu Virus Prevention Tips
As with all aspects of health and safety on the job, OSHA provides some great information on keeping your office or place of work clear of cold and flu virus problems. Many people think of OSHA as the “safety people,” issuing guidelines for physical safety from accidents. The organization is all about protecting workers in general, however, and that includes keeping everyone healthy as well.
With its ease of broad availability, every place of employment should encourage their staff to receive an annual flu vaccine. There are a wealth of healthcare institutes and organizations out there who will even come to your workplace and set up a program to issue shots at no charge. In general, your staff will need their healthcare insurance card to get the shots, but again, with the availability of general healthcare these days that also should not be an issue. Flu shots keep people healthy and even save lives!
The flu season changes every year, but general falls between the months of October and May. If an employee in January claims that the season is over, that may not be the case. The months of December through February are usually, in fact, the peak of cold and flu season in the United States. Until the flu season begins, there’s no way to predict how bad it will be or what new strains will show up.
In addition to the flu vaccine, take standard precautions to avoid getting sick. The first of these is to encourage all of your workers to stay home if they’re not feeling well. No employer likes to lose productivity when a worker calls in sick, but what’s worse: a couple days with one person off, or weeks with your whole staff down as an epidemic hits your office? Workforce safety and wellness is key.
Wash hands frequently and avoid touching the face. Don’t come in to close contact with those who are sick. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing by making use of a tissue. Practice general good health and fitness habits overall—get plenty of exercise, eat right, drink lots of fluids and manage your stress. Also, make sure that all workers are wearing protective winter workwear.
Of course, for those very severe cases of illness, you should carry appropriate workers’ compensation and liability insurance. If you would like more information on the coverage you need to protect your workers in such cases, we can help.