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Keeping Healthy: Tips for Businesses

Keeping Healthy: Tips for Businesses

The Daily Gazette, Sterling, IL

Although Raynor Garage Doors in Dixon doesn’t have any special plans for an H1N1 outbreak, it does have a plan to handle seasonal flu.

The company offers seasonal flu shots and has posters hanging around the factory reminding people how to stay healthy, for example, by covering their mouths with their sleeves when they cough or sneeze, Human Resources Director Mary Whelan said.

She’s happy area health departments are offering the H1N1 vaccine in schools. When children get sick, it could hurt the company because employees might need to stay home to care for them.

In addition to providing or subsidizing flu vaccines, here are ways employers can help keep their workers healthy:

  • Develop policies that encourage ill workers to stay at home without fear of any reprisals.
  • Whenever possible, allow them to work from home so they can care for sick family members, or for children if schools close.
  • Create a work environment that promotes personal hygiene: Provide hand sanitizer, disinfectants, disposable towels, no-touch trash cans and tissues.
  • Provide flu education and training materials in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Let employees who are well but have an ill family member know that they can come to work as usual, but they should monitor their own health every day and and stay home if they become sick.
  • Encourage workers in the priority group to obtain a seasonal flu vaccine and an H1N1 flu vaccine.
  • Provide workers with up-to-date information on flu risk factors and protective behaviors, such as proper cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If needed, implement practices that minimize face-to-face contact between workers, such as expanded use of e-mail, Web sites and teleconferences.
  • If an employee becomes sick while at work, place them in a separate room or area until they can go home. Have them use a mask or a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes if they must pass through a common area before they leave the workplace.

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Copyright © 2009, Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill.

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