Got a Plan? (Worksite preparedness)
Photo Courtesy FEMA/Win Henderson
Should a new and dangerous disease move through the U.S., many businesses could shut down or have their operations disrupted. Planning for emergencies can minimize the dangers to yourself, your employees and your bottom line.
Visit PandemicFlu.org's Business Planning site for more information and resources.
The University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has good Influenza Business Planning information.
10 Steps Your Business Can Take to Maintain Business Continuity
(from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For more details
- Check that existing business continuity contingency plans address long-term absenteeism rates. In particular, check to see if core business activities can be sustained over several weeks with only a minimal workforce available.
- Identify your company's essential functions, which might include accounting, payroll, and information technology, and the individuals who perform them. The absence of these individuals could seriously impair business continuity. Cross-train employees to perform essential functions to ensure resiliency.
- Plan for interruptions of essential governmental services like sanitation, water, power, and transportation, or disruptions to the food supply. For example, your employees might need back-up plans for car pools in case mass transit is interrupted.
- Determine which outside activities are critical to maintaining operations and develop alternatives in case they cannot function normally. For example, what transportation systems are needed to provide essential materials? Does the business operate on "just in time" inventory or is there typically some reserve?
- Update sick leave and family and medical leave policies and communicate with employees about the importance of staying away from the workplace if they become ill.
- Establish or expand policies and tools that enable employees to work from home with appropriate security and network access to applications.
- Collaborate with insurers, health plans, and major healthcare facilities to share your pandemic contingency plans and to learn about their capabilities and plans.
- Maintain a healthy work environment. Ensure adequate air circulation. Post tips on how to stop the spread of germs at work. Promote hand and respiratory hygiene. Ensure wide and easy availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products.
- Tell your employees about the threat of pandemic flu and the steps the company is taking to prepare for it. Establish an emergency communications plan and revise periodically.
- The plan should include key contacts (with back-ups), a chain of communications
(including suppliers and customers), and the processes for communicating
pandemic status and actions to employees, vendors, suppliers and customers
inside and outside the work site in a consistent and timely way.
How to Plan for an Emergency
In the event of pandemic influenza, businesses 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. 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.
HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed guidelines, including a checklist, to assist businesses in planning for a pandemic outbreak as well as for other comparable catastrophes.
Go to: PandemicFlu.gov Business & Industry Planning
What needs to be in the Emergency Plan
What Should an Agency Do To Prepare For a Pandemic Health Crisis? (PDF) - U.S. Office of Personnel Management Pandemic Planning Guide
Emergency Planning for Small Business Owners
Look at this excellent toolkit (PDF) to help small business owners plan for emergencies, from the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
What is Telework?
Telework is a voluntary work arrangement in which an employee performs
officially assigned duties at home or another work site geographically convenient
to his or her residence. Employers may - as part of their emergency planning
- arrange for some or all of their employees to work from alternate sites
during an emergency. For
more information (PDF)
Could Anthrax Threaten My Business?
Go to this website from the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
For Poultry Workers and Others in Contact with Wild or Domesticated Birds
- Protect Poultry, Protect People: Basic Advice for Stopping the Spread of Avian Flu (PDF) from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Sets out some practices for people to help reduce the risk of disease in animals and humans.
microbial Products to Disinfect Poultry and Other Facilities Against
Avian (Bird) Flu (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Lists more than
90 disinfectant products that are typically used by the poultry industry
to disinfect their facilities against avian influenza A viruses.
- Guidance for Protecting Workers Against Avian Flu (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Learn how individuals whose work might expose them to avian flu can protect themselves from infection.
- Avian Influenza: Protecting Poultry Workers at Risk (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Discover how employers can provide a safe environment for their poultry workers.
- Interim Guidelines for the Protection of Persons Handling Wild Birds with Reference to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 (USGS National Wildlife Health Center). Find how to reduce the risk of infection if you have to handle wild birds.