Companies need to adopt a structured approach for identification of pandemics, their evaluation and control of risks in the organisation
The H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine flu influenza is on the rise in India. According to news reports, the outbreak this year has affected more than 26,000 people across the country; death toll rising to over 1500.
It is the responsibility of employers to ensure a safe working environment as outbreak of such pandemics adversely disrupts business. With the growing number of swine flu cases, organisations need to be proactive and ensure a workforce secure from contagious diseases and take the call-to-action to prevent its spread. For companies providing medical facilities, they also need to financially provide for the affected staff; the risk, if not dealt with at the initial stage, is that the entire workforce can be affected. Creating a safe working environment is thus becomes critical to the success of any business and is a decisive factor in organizational effectiveness.
Companies need to adopt a structured approach for identification of pandemics, their evaluation and control of risks in the organisation. There are few measures that employers can take to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic at workplace:
Vaccinating employees would be the first thing to do to ensure that employees aren’t vulnerable to virus. As the virus is air-borne, especially those who use public commute are likely to be infected in the closed spaces of busses or metro trains. However, considering the fact that there is a lack of a coherent policy framework to ensure adequate stock of vaccines available at affordable prices, ensuring vaccination of employees at this stage may not be possible.
Educate your workforce on the preventive measures of H1N1 including what makes for its causes and symptoms.
Simple measures like providing masks, hand sanitizers and wet tissues at work place can prove impressively effective.
Arrange for medical check-up of those showing symptoms of the disease. If the result appears positive, make sure that the employee does not come to the work premises till he/she completely recovers.
One of the best ways to retain staff and maximise productivity is to ensure a secure working environment. While the cost to implement safe practices and install safety equipment is heavy, the effect of not taking early measure can be even more severe. An HR person has the responsibilities regarding health and safety at workplace and taking proactive steps to rip such pandemics during the initial stage is imperative in order to build a productive workforce and environment.