What can businesses do to prepare for pandemic flu?
In the event of pandemic influenza, businesses and other employers will play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. Planning for pandemic influenza is critical.
There are many individuals in West Virginia who will need assistance planning for and responding to disasters and emergencies. About 25% of the state's populations is disabled. Other groups who will need help include those who don't speak English at all or very well; those with cognitive disorders; the homeless; those living in group settings, such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and college dorms; tourists; children; and the elderly. Anyone in these groups should plan for themselves, to the degree that they are able, but communities can help them with this.
Determine the impact a pandemic would have on your business and develop an emergency plan.
- Identify essential functions and staff needed to keep your business running. Two backups are needed for each essential position. Plan and train accordingly.
- Determine the impact on your customer service.
- Network with external partners to reduce impact on product and services delivery.
Companies that provide critical infrastructure services, such as power and telecommunications, also have a special responsibility to plan for continued operation in a crisis and should plan accordingly. As with any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed guidelines, including checklists, to assist businesses, industries, and other employers in planning for a pandemic outbreak as well as for other comparable catastrophes.
Checklists and Letter
Critical Infrastructure Guide
Employer and Employee Guidance
- Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers (PDF - 405 KB) (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
This guidance provides a wide range of information and tools helpful to pandemic planners, including: Internet resources, communication tools, sample infection control programs, and self-triage and home care resources. It also offers how-to advice on diagnosis and treatment of staff during a pandemic, developing planning and supply checklists, and risk communication.
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic (PDF - 313 KB) (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
Provides guidance and recommendations on infection control in the workplace, including information on engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment, such as respirators and surgical masks.
- Guidance for Protecting Workers Against Avian Flu (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Learn how employees who may be exposed to avian flu can stay protected.
- Cover Your Cough (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Includes flyers and posters, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Chinese, Hmong, and Khmer.
- Stopping the Spread of Germs at Work (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Basic precautions for protecting employee health.
- Quick Cards for Employees to Protect Yourself from Avian Flu (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- Federal Employment Laws
- Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers