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CDC offers employers guidelines for preventing spread of influenza

As an employer, you likely go to great lengths to insure the health and safety of employees. While some of this effort can likely be attributed to overarching financial and legal concerns - helping ensure increased productivity, limiting potential workers' compensation defense costs, etc. - an equal portion can likely be attributed to a genuine desire to protect your workers from harm.

While this is certainly admirable, it's important to remember that workplace safety measures may encompass more than just taking steps to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, slip and falls, and accidents involving company vehicles.

As it turns out, employers may also want to consider taking steps to protect their employees from potentially dangerous and debilitating illnesses.

In fact, in recognition of this danger, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a set of guidelines on steps employers can take to protect workers from influenza.

The CDC guidelines recommend that employers looking to prevent a widespread outbreak of the flu consider the following:

  • Lobby for all employees to obtain the seasonal flu vaccine; consider hosting a flu vaccine clinic on company grounds during working hours
  • Implement sick policies that are designed to encourage sick workers - particularly those who are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, respiratory problems, etc.) - to stay home
  • Maintain sanitary work conditions
  • Launch an informational campaign designed to alert employees about the dangers of flu and how they may contract it
  • Provide signs/publications outlining proper hand hygiene, coughing protocol and hand washing techniques.
  • Provide the necessary sanitary/hygiene tools such as no-touch trashcans, water faucets and soap dispensers, hand sanitizers, paper towels and cleaning supplies.

Not surprisingly, the CDC advises those employers in the health care industry to be particularly vigilant during flu season, which typically peaks in January/February and ends in the spring.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.


Risk & Insurance, "Agencies issue annual precautions for workplaces" Nov. 14, 2011

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