Thursday, September 4, 2014

OSHA Fact Sheet Helps Employers Prepare for a Pandemic

OSHA has released a fact sheet focused on worker protection during a pandemic. The sheet details effective practices and topics that employers should communicate to workers during a pandemic, which can help minimize workplace illness.

Per OSHA, a pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that can be cause by a variety of agents, including influenza and coronaviruses.

“When pandemics are occurring, transmission can be anticipated in the workplace, not only from patients to healthcare workers, but also among coworkers and between the public and workers in other types of workplaces,” the document explains.

Communication with workers should be a high priority during a pandemic, OSHA says. Clear communication encourages confidence in the employer's ability to protect workers and reduces absenteeism.

Recommended topics for employers to cover include:
  • differences between seasonal epidemics and world-wide pandemics;
  • specific job activities that may put workers at risk of infection;
  • options for telecommuting, or an employer’s flexible leave policy;
  • social-distancing strategies, such as avoiding close physical contact or large gatherings of people;
  • good hygiene and appropriate disinfection procedures;
  • appropriate PPE, its availability, and how to wear, use, clean and store it properly.