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April 30, 2009

Good Time to Update Your Contagious Illness and Business Continuity Policies

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:39 am

As of April 28, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 64 cases of swine flu in five states (New York, California, Texas, Kansas and Ohio). The CDC, on April 27, also issued a travel warning recommending that people avoid nonessential travel to Mexico.

These reports serve as a good reminder for employers to ensure that critical policies and plans are in place and up to date.

The outbreak has some unusual characteristics which are raising concern among the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security. The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to phase 4, two steps short of declaring a full-blown pandemic. The swine flu has been confirmed in Mexico, United States, Canada, and Spain.

While the current outbreak is not expected to cause critical infrastructure disruptions in the United States, if it should intensify, it could cause a possible disruption in services due to high absenteeism.

Employers should revisit their contagious illness/pandemic policy to ensure that it covers important topics such as workplace hygiene, travel to high risk areas, and absence from work.

Likewise, this is also a good time to review your organization’s business continuity plan.  Key points to review include: staff contact information; methods of communicating to staff and members; cross-training and education; and alternative operations sites.

Keep up-to-date on the current swine flu situation at www.pandemicflu.gov

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