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Thursday 13 August 2009

Salespeople – Take Steps to Avoid Swine Flu at work.

Although there has been a fall in the number of newly diagnosed cases of Swine Flu this week, it is still important that businesses protect themselves from the virus.

The Government is predicting that 12% of the workforce could be affected by September so employers need to be prepared.

Sales employees are potentially at a higher risk of contracting the disease than staff from other sectors by the very fact that they are regularly meeting and shaking hands with new clients and colleagues, increasing their chances of contracting the disease which can be transmitted by hand contact.

Frequent travelling across the country could also mean that sales professionals are more at risk of being exposed to the strain.

To prevent the transmission of the virus in the work place, take note of the following guidelines provided by the NHS.

Advice for Employers:

The more your employees know about how to prevent infection, the more resilient your business will be.

It is advised that information on the virus and how to protect yourself should be circulated to all staff.

If workers in the office contract the virus, employers may also want to consider temporary home working.

Be careful not put pressure on staff to come in, especially pregnant workers who are thought to be more at risk. Employment lawyers are already warning of personal injury claims.

  • To protect your office and staff, you should:
  • Have a business continuity plan to ensure your business continues to operate effectively
  • Have a policy to cover all staff. The HR Dept can provide this for you
  • Impress on your cleaners the need for extra care to keep surfaces germ free
  • Remind staff of your absence policy
  • Keep up to date with government guidelines and adjust plans accordingly

Advice for Employees:

  • To prevent the spread of the disease in the work place, the NHS is using the catchphrase ‘catch it, bin it kill it’.
  • Always cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
  • Maintain good basic hygiene. It may be worth considering carrying an antibacterial gel in your car post meetings, or getting into the habit of washing your hands with soap and water after every meeting.
  • Clean hard surfaces, such as door handles, often and thoroughly using a normal cleaning product.

If you think you have Swine flu, DON’T self-diagnose - employers will not appreciate you speculatively deciding you have swine flu without proper medical advice.

Although going to the doctor for a diagnosis is not advisable, it is easy to get information by calling the NHS helplines on 0800 1 513 100 or going onto the NHS website.

If a health professional diagnoses swine flu then ring your employer and stay at home.

Find out more about avoiding swine flu from this government advice site aimed at the business community

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