Stopping Flu Outbreak at Work in Massachusetts

It’s almost flu season and there’s a good chance you’re going to get it from work. An inconvenience for some, older workers and those with pre-exisiting conditions may be particularly vulnerable.

That’s why officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are helping employers to reduce the risks of flu on the job, especially in healthcare settings.
Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys understand that there are employees who perform specific kinds of healthcare duties with patients who might already have the flu. This means that they’re at higher risks for getting the flu. There are a number of safety precautions that need to be taken in the healthcare setting to make sure that the flu virus is contained. Cleanliness might be one of the best ways to help to keep the flu virus under control.

Safety Precautions to Take in the Healthcare Field:

-Make sure that you’re vaccinated.

-Make sure that everyone on the job is practicing good hygiene etiquette; cover your mouth when you cough, make sure everyone is washing their hands and keep work areas tidy.

-If you’re sick, you should stay home. Don’t bring the flu in with you.

-Encourage workers who are feeling ill to go home and rest.

-Make sure that everyone is using gowns, gloves, surgical masks, etc. and are using them correctly.

Pandemic flu continues to be a top concern for employees and employers. This is especially a big concern for healthcare workers. At any time, a pandemic can happen. Back in 2009, there was a pandemic that was considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be mild, but was still causing some serious challenges for employers and illustrated just how unprepared they were for an event like this. An emergency plan for this kind of pandemic should be a “worst-case” scenario plan, meaning you should be ready to handle anything and everything.

A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for people having little or no immunity at all and when there is no vaccine. This is a very real threat and officials aren’t able to predict when the next influenza pandemic will happen of how bad it will be.

The healthcare industry has a lot of workers and a broad range of risks. There are emergency responders, pharmacists, physicians, nurses, administrative personnel, mortuary workers, food service individuals, security professionals, aides, technicians, etc. These workers are in a variety of workplace settings too, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, occupational health clinics, surgical facilities and other emergency response settings. This means that the flu virus can spread to a lot of people very quickly. This makes prevention and emergency response much more difficult.

Make sure that there’s a prevention plan and an emergency plan at your job. It’s important that we take care of ourselves to ensure that we can keep working. Keep the workplace clean, make sure everyone is practicing good hygiene habits and that sick workers are staying away.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers are here to offer free and confidential consultations to those who have been injured on the job. Call (617) 777-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Workplace Violence in Massachusetts Leading On-the-Job Killer in 2011, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, October 7, 2012

Employers Overlooking Common Work Hazards, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2012

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