22/09/2006

Touchy Feely = Coughy Sneezy

You can't see them, but you might be able to outsmart them - here are some tips
to help slow down those "germs" that spread infections and make "holes" in the
employee attendance records.

Individuals can slow the spread of infections, primarily by staying healthy.
That means a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep. But
there are other ways to lessen the spread of infections too. One of the best is
frequent hand washing - all you need is soap and warm water - and to wash,
especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Also, when you are
out in public, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which are
potential routes of entry.

Other tips to help stop the spread of "germs"? When you have a cold or flu,
stay home so you don't spread it to other people. The old rule of covering your
nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing still applies, but be sure to use a
tissue so you can throw it away.

A workplace can proactively help in prevention of infectious illnesses by
implementing an infection control plan. This plan should include ensuring
proper ventilation, and providing clean facilities for hand washing. If washing
facilities are not possible or if workers are on the road, waterless
alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used. If a very bad cold or flu is making
its way through the office, you can also try to reduce the number of "things"
that get touched by other people - ask people to not share mugs or dishes, and
remove magazines and papers from waiting areas or common rooms.

Other ways to squash a bug


Cleaning - Influenza viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to 2 days. In
most workplaces and homes, cleaning floors, walls, doorknobs, etc with soap and
water is very adequate. In some workplaces, such as a hospital or health care
facility, further cleaning can be done. When necessary, work surfaces can be
cleaned using a bleach and water solution, or alcohol, depending on the surface
(visit the OSH Answers link at the end of this article for more information).

Social distancing - Not to be antisocial, but sometimes handshakes may not be
appropriate. Also, viruses spread easily in large crowds, so keeping a distance
of at least one metre (3 feet) will slow their spread. As added precaution, you
may want to replace face-to-face meetings with phone calls, or video
conferences. In a pandemic situation, it may be necessary to allow employees to
work from home, or to work flexible hours (to keep the number of interactions
to a minimum). You may also want to think about keep large gatherings such as
meetings and workshops and business travel, to a minimum.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety