Cold & Flu Prevention Tips for the Workplace

Topics: Workers' Compensation

Summary: It’s flu season again. It's unknown how severe or widespread the flu is going to be this winter, so it makes sense to be prepared and get vaccinated. This short but informative article will review the steps you should take and share tips on avoiding colds and the flu.

Cold & Flu Prevention Tips for  the Workplace

The new year and the cold winter season have ushered in the flu season across much of the country. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that nine states have been classified as having “very high” rates of flu. They are Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. You can have every expectation that that list will grow. In addition to flu, an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is also being reported. These situations have the CDC worried. They fear a potentially more virulent strain of flu might wreak havoc on a population that, due to several mild flu seasons, doesn’t have the robust immunity they otherwise would have built up.

Colds, the flu, RSV and other respiratory ailments can have devastating effects on employee health and workplace efficiency. Because of the highly contagious nature of such illnesses, the impacts at work can be significant. Precaution and preparation are in order for small, medium and large businesses. Everyone from top management on down needs to be aware of and practice flu prevention procedures.

And while COVID isn’t the threat it once was (thanks to vaccination and other mitigation procedures), the CDC wants you to know that it’s still out there and can still be dangerous. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a cold, the flu and a mild case of COVID. When in doubt, get tested to be sure you’re receiving the proper treatment and advice.

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for the Workplace

Employees need to be informed about the contagious nature of colds and flu in the workplace and the proper way to prevent spreading these illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created basic hygiene guidelines for workers to help prevent the spread of the flu in the workplace. Getting a flu shot is the best method, but additional cold and flu prevention tips for the workplace include:
  • Staying at home: If employees have symptoms of the flu, The CDC recommends that they stay at home. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, body aches, headache or vomiting. The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit) ends. Employees should be encouraged to use their sick days or work from home to help prevent the spread of the flu.
  • Washing your hands: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub as an interim until hand washing is possible.
  • Avoid touching your face: Avoid touching the nose, mouth and eyes to prevent the spread of the germs. Also, do not shake hands or come in close contact with co-workers who might be ill.
  • Cover your mouth: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve. Throw the used tissue away immediately.
  • Clean surfaces: Keep frequently touched common surfaces, counters, copiers, telephones, computers, etc., clean. Wipe them down with a disinfectant.
  • Be healthy: Eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest and exercise.

Be Prepared with Safety Resources from AmTrust

Healthy employees affect a company in every aspect of a business from productivity to morale. Following the above flu and COVID-19 prevention tips and offering on-site flu vaccinations will not only promote a healthier workforce, but it will also positively impact your bottom line.

AmTrust knows that safety training and employee well-being are key to a proactive approach to minimalizing injuries, incidents and controlling costs. Contact AmTrust’s Loss Control Department for information on safety resources and commercial property safeguards to ensure their ongoing success.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

Time Zones