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Pandemic Influenza (Business) Planning Guide Issued

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  • Pandemic Influenza (Business) Planning Guide Issued


    Pandemic Influenza Planning Guide Issued
    Reported by: KARK 4 News
    Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008 @03:25pm CST

    Experts agree it is not if an Influenza Pandemic will occur but when.
    This could mean that 40 percent of your employees are too sick to come to work on any given day, a quarter of your workforce could be out for as many as three to four months and that the other businesses and organizations you rely on are facing the same massive absentee rates.

    A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.

    A worldwide influenza pandemic could have a major effect on the global economy, including travel, trade, tourism, food, consumption and eventually, investment and financial markets.

    Unlike natural disasters or terrorist events, an influenza pandemic will be widespread, affecting multiple areas of the United States and other countries at the same time.

    A pandemic will also be an extended event, with multiple waves of outbreaks in the same geographic area; each outbreak could last from 6 to 8 weeks. Waves of outbreaks may occur over a year or more.

    Your workplace will likely experience: Absenteeism, Change in patterns of commerce, and Interrupted supply/delivery of goods and services.

    Planning for pandemic influenza by business and industry is essential to minimize a pandemic's impact. 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.

    The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has released a business continuity planning guide to aid businesses in preparing for a pandemic so that they can minimize the impact on their business and protect their employees.

    This resource can be found by clicking here.

    Businesses can protect their employees and customers by educating and training employees in proper hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing techniques.

    Understand and develop work practice and engineering controls that could provide additional protection to your employees and customers,
    such as: drive-through service windows, clear plastic sneeze barriers, ventilation, and the proper selection, use and disposal of personal protective equipment.

    To reduce the impact of a pandemic on your operations, employees, customers and the general public, it is important for all businesses and organizations to begin continuity planning for a pandemic now. Lack of continuity planning can result in a cascade of failures as employers attempt to address challenges of a pandemic with insufficient resources and employees who might not be adequately trained in the jobs they will be asked to perform.

    Proper planning will allow employers to better protect their employees and prepare for changing patterns of commerce and potential disruptions in supplies or services.

    One step businesses and organizations can take is to encourage employees and associates to get a yearly flu vaccine. This is the first and most important step in protecting against this disease. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year and 36,000 die from flu.

    During the first week of November health units in Arkansas will be providing free flu shots.

    Click here for information about locations, dates and times of clinics in your area.

    The best time to be immunized is between mid-October and mid-November.
    This allows your immunity to peak during the height of the influenza season, which is generally December through March. Adults receive the vaccine in one dose. It takes one to two weeks after you’ve been vaccinated for the shot to take effect.