The Flu Shot
Each year the flu affects anywhere from 5-to-20 percent of the population — that’s millions of Americans and a lot of sick days. So, do employers just have to accept the loss in productivity? Not necessarily. There are plenty of steps employers can take to implement a responsible flu prevention system.
The first step may be an obvious one: Flu shots. The best practice to guarantee flu shots for your entire team to order a shipment when they become available in the summer. However, it’s not too late to offer a company-wide flu shot clinic. Doing this can prevent an epidemic in the workplace. Even one sick worker can spread the illness throughout the company.
Prevent the Spread of Germs
Simple practices, such as covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands regularly, should not be forgotten during flu season. Employers should post simple reminders around the work area, and in the bathroom. Make sure that areas that may be contaminated with germs, such as handles and break-room surfaces, are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Use a Mask or Other Protective Gear
According to NIOSH, coughing is the most common way that the virus is spread from one person to another. Some of your workers may already wear respirators for their day-to-day tasks. Not only can personal protective equipment protect against harmful particles in the air, they can also protect against airborne illnesses. Offering simple sanitary masks that loop around the ears can provide an extra level of protection.
This may not seem like the best way to improve productivity, but encouraging a worker with flu symptoms to stay home can prevent more people from getting sick. Educate workers on symptoms, and encourage them to take time away if they are not feeling well. Here are the most common symptoms to watch out for:
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Keeping workers healthy shouldn’t just be a priority during flu season. Sick workers can signal health hazards within the workplace. Stay compliant by implementing a medical surveillance program where workers are regularly tested. Contact Worksite Medical at 1-844-OCCUMED for more information.