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Jan 01

Feds offer tips on preventing seasonal flu outbreaks at work

workplace flu sicknessWASHINGTON, D.C. – It’s winter, and people will get sick.  Bringing that illness into the workplace is not advised, but we all know people will show up under the weather and expose others to their ailment.  The federal government’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration offered these resources to help curb the seasonal flu outbreak int he workplace:

Workplace Safety and the Flu

This page includes information for workers and employers about reducing the spread of seasonal flu in workplaces. It provides information on the basic precautions to be used in all workplaces and the additional precautions that should be used in healthcare settings. Healthcare workers in contact with flu exposed patients are at higher risk for exposure to the flu virus and additional precautions are needed.

Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated guidance for protecting individuals from seasonal flu.  Refer to this page for updates on the most recent seasonal flu vaccine. Each year the vaccine is revised to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common this season.

Pandemic flu remains a concern for employers and workers. A pandemic can occur at any time and can be mild, moderate, or severe. Although the pandemic H1N1 flu in 2009 was considered by CDC to be mild, it created significant challenges for employers and workers and showed that many workplaces were not prepared. The precautions identified in the resources below give a baseline for infection controls during a seasonal flu outbreak, but may not be enough to protect workers during a pandemic. For additional information on pandemic flu planning, see the OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page: Pandemic Influenza.

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