How to prevent the flu in the workplace
No one wants to get the flu… As an employer, you expect your employees to come in healthy, in a good mood, and ready to work. Unfortunately if one of your employees has the flu, you should probably expect the exact opposite. Not only is the flu bad for business, the safety of all your employees are at risk. Influenza can cause severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. The flu can be prevented in the workplace by following several key notes throughout the day.
Taking precautions to avoid the flu should be a part of your procedure as an employer to protect your employees and your business. In the event there is a flu pandemic throughout your workplace, OSHA has announced multiple safety measures.
What to do if your employees have the flu
If one of your employees comes into work with the flu, you can probably guess that it will most likely be spread to another employee and so on. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has listed several steps that can be used to protect yourself and your fellow workers during the flu season.
- Get Flu Shot – The number one flu prevention step is to stress that all your employees get the flu shot, and if possible, arrange an on-site vaccination program to avoid the flu in the workplace.
- Send the Employee Home – The best thing you can do as an employer is to tell the person who has the flu to go home and rest until they are better.
- Clean Work-Spaces – Make sure each employee cleans and disinfects their work space.
- Janitorial Service – If you have a janitorial service or cleaning crew, ask that they give extra attention to any surface that has the most traffic throughout the day.
- Put Up Hygienic Signs – Place signs around telling each worker to wash their hands frequently to help stop the spread of flu in the workplace.
- Turn on UV-C Air Purifiers – If you already have an Ultraviolet (UV-C) Air purifier be sure to turn it on to help stop the spread of germs containing the flu virus. If not, think about purchasing a SANITAIRE® from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation ® for the benefit of yourself and your employees.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970,
Employers are required to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers.”
The Act created the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training, and assistance to workers and employers. Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or there are serious hazards.
Every year at Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation®, we provide a flu vaccination program that is offered free to all employees. Our goal is to protect our employees and make sure our facility is germ free. In addition to providing our employees with an easy way of getting the flu shot, we also have installed our SANITAIRE® Ultraviolet Room Air Sanitizer. SANITAIRE® Fixtures utilize Germicidal Ultraviolet Lamps that effectively destroy airborne microbes including bacteria, mold, and virus in enclosed, occupied spaces. These fixtures are available in a number of different configurations to adapt to any setting. Since the installation of this system, there have been no flu breakouts.
What should employees do if they suspect they have the flu?
If you suspect you may be getting the flu or if you already know you have the flu, you should stay home and get better. Other flu prevention safety measures you can take are as follows, as stated by OSHA:
- Get Vaccinated! Vaccination is the most important way to prevent the spread of the flu.
- Stay home if you are sick – The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 degrees Fahrenheit [37.8 degrees Celsius] or lower), without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms could include a runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve(s). Throw tissues into a “no-touch” wastebasket.
- Clean your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse hands with water, and dry completely.
- If soap and water are not available, use of an alcohol-based hand rub is a helpful interim measure until hand washing is possible. When using an alcohol-based hand rub, apply liquid to palm of hand, cover all surfaces of the hands with the liquid, and rub hands together until dry.
- Keep frequently touched common surfaces (e.g., telephones, computer equipment, etc.) clean.
- Try not to use a coworker’s phone, desk, office, computer, or other work tools and equipment. If you must use a coworker’s equipment, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant.
- Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with coworkers and others who may be ill.
- Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and relaxation.
- Speak with your doctor and find out if you are in a high risk category for seasonal flu (e.g., elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with asthma, etc.).
- Participate in any training offered by your employer. Make sure that you understand how to stay healthy at work.
While the flu shot and personal hygiene are crucial, let’s be honest. Sometimes, they just aren’t enough to protect you or your coworkers from getting the flu. Atlantic Ultraviolet’s SANITAIRE® Ultraviolet Room Air Sanitizers offer extra protection during flu season and year-round, virtually eliminating microorganisms such as the flu virus.
Learn More About How to Prevent Flu in the Workplace & Shop Our Products
Made in the USA from U.S. & Imported Parts, the air purification systems from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® are constructed of the highest quality materials to withstand the most demanding applications. Many applications can benefit from germicidal UV-C, including those seeking to prevent flu in the workplace.
Learn Here! Ultraviolet.com
- Learn about UV Air and Surface Disinfection Models
- View our Application Specific Page: How to Prevent the Flu
- View all the applications that can benefit from Germicidal UV-C
- Learn about STER-L-RAY ® Germicidal Ultraviolet Lamps
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- Shop UV Air & Surface Disinfection Models for Flu Prevention
- Shop STER-L-RAY ® Germicidal UV Lamps
- Compare all models with our UV Air & Surface Disinfection Comparison Chart
Need help? Call Our UV Specialists at 1-631-273-0500, Monday – Friday 7am to 6pm EST or fill out our contact form.