Don’t wait until your workforce is depleted

By Michael Selinger on June 8th, 2018
  1. Employee health & wellbeing
  2. Wellbeing Programs


Like many Australians this winter, I was surprised that I had to go to three general practitioners before I could find one that had flu vaccines for my family.

It has been widely reported that there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of people wanting flu vaccinations, which has caused a shortage in supply ahead of the flu season.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently that the Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Hobbs said it was a good thing that people were taking steps to protect themselves against influenza but the increase in demand had “impacted the availability of supplies”.

One alternative to a visit to the GP is for workers to get immunised through an employer-sponsored vaccination program. Not only is this convenient for staff, but also there are some real benefits for employers if they implement one of these programs. The SMH reported that the 2017 flu season was one of the most severe on record, with 102,880 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu in NSW, and 48,599 flu notifications in the peak flu season month of August.

If you want your business to avoid the substantial interruption caused by the flu virus running rampant in your organisation, one of these programs can be very effective.

So, as we enter the cold winter months, you need to ensure that your business is taking steps to limit the spread of flu and other illnesses in the workplace. Not only is this part of the duty of care owed by employers to staff, but it makes good business sense, too.

Having staff out of action with little notice for a week or more, in the case of the flu, is an unplanned and extended absence that may be difficult to manage – especially if multiple members of the one department or team are afflicted at once.

There are some simple steps employers can put in place to limit the spread of infection in the workplace. The purpose of these steps is to keep the workplace healthy and ensure the highest level of productivity remains throughout the cold, winter months.

Here are some simple steps that workers should be encouraged to observe (maybe send a company-wide text or email):

  • cough into your elbow;
  • use tissues and dispose of them immediately;
  • avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth;
  • regularly wash your hands throughout the day;
  • keep a reasonable distance during any contact with people thought to be unwell;
  • regularly wipe with disinfectant shared surfaces in the workplace like benches, tables, workstations, photocopiers and handrails, etc;
  • get a flu shot (it’s not too late), including through a work-sponsored program; and
  • go home if you feel unwell.

So, get organised today and put in place measures to reduce the risk of the spread of infection.

The Health & Safety Handbook chapters on Hygiene, Health Monitoring and Working Environment are full of information you will find useful for proactively keeping your workforce healthy (and productive).

These are just some of the 70-plus chapters you’ll find in the Handbook, covering everything from Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace to Notification of Incidents through to Working Alone.

Take a test-drive of the Handbook on an obligation-free trial to see how can simplify your business.


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