Although flu season doesn’t really get started until late October, especially in the South, now is a great time to get your office and your workers ready to battle it. Last year’s flu season was especially dangerous—and deadly. Flu sent more than over 700,000 people to the hospital, and 180 children died. The 2017-2018 season was driven by a flu strain, the H3N2 virus, which tends to result in more hospitalizations and cause more deaths.
It’s impossible to know whether that strain will wreak havoc again, this season. Erring on the safe side, experts are warning the public to get ready early, this year, and the World Health Organization is recommending that individuals get vaccinated against multiple strains of the flu. Certain individuals, including older people, are urged to get high-dose flu shots that may offer more powerful immunity.
OSHA’s seasonal flu web page, which you can review here, contains helpful guidance and links to resources for employers as they work to inhibit the spread of influenza in the workplace. It also includes a summary of the OSHA Worker’s Rights. This summary, and the full document to which it links, reinforces to business owners that ensuring a safe workplace includes taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease.
A study for The Healthy Workplace Project by the University of Arizona found that implementing a “wash, wipe, sanitize” protocol in the workplace reduces the probability of catching the flu or common cold by 80 percent. That puts responsibility for workplace wellness squarely in the hands of a company and its workers.