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Five Tips on What to Do To Protect your Business From the Cold and Flu

- February 8, 2016 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

The cold and flu season can affect your injury rates, work comp costs and erode you’re bottom line  It’s no wonder, employers lose $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity. When employees come to work under the weather, they’re fatigued and less attentive than when they’re healthy.  They often make poor choices, have slower reactions times and can be distracted from the task at hand—which can lead to an injury—and will spread it to their colleagues like a wildfire.

There are lots of low cost things that you can do to reduce the chances of your employees spreading illnesses throughout the workplace. For this post, I’ll be focusing on five that I think are the most effective, including:

  • Train supervisors to take action when one of their employees is sick. Sending one employee home for the day may result in a reduction is production, but when that employee spreads their illness to their entire department, production could come to a halt.
  • Disinfect work surfaces.  A container of disinfecting wipes can go a long way in reducing the spread of illness.  Each shift, wipe down commonly touched surfaces like machine buttons, work surfaces, door knobs, and computer key boards.
  • Train your employees on your sick policies annually and remind them that their loyalty is appreciated but their health is more important than production.  Dedicated employees are wonderful until their dedication to service spreads the flu throughout your organization.
  • Create a human resources policy for illnesses.  Although there is no federal policy requiring employers to pay for sick leave having a policy on sick leave is a good idea.  You can find more information on creating a sick leave policy on ICW Group’s RMRx Safety Advisor inside the HR Library.
  • Encourage the flu shot.  Many health care facilities require employees to get the flu shot annually.  You don’t have to make it mandatory, but educating your workforce on the flu shot can have a huge impact on prevention.

For educational materials on flu prevention and vaccination, you can look on the RMRx Safety Advisor or www.cdc.gov/flu.