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12 Facts & Tips That Every Employer Should Know This Flu Season

With sniffles, sore throats, and coughs making the rounds at workplaces particularly in the fall and winter, prevention is in everyone’s best interest. Contagious employees who courageously show up for work could prove very costly for your company, both from an individual decreased productivity point of view, as well as from a disease spreading point of view.

Vaccinating against the flu can help keep your workers healthy and provide your company with a healthy return on investment. The Public Health Agency of Canada says that by reducing absenteeism, workplace immunization programs can save employers up to $60 per worker.

And because experience has shown that the more accessible it is, the more likely people are to get vaccinated, DriverCheck brings our flu clinics directly to you. To arrange an on-site clinic, contact us and we’ll get started.

In addition to getting vaccinated, there are some tips that can lend a helping hand in prevention. Since one of the most common ways to spread infection is through our hands, proper hand hygiene can help. It’s simple, and it works. Here are some hand-washing techniques worth promoting to all employees:

  1. Place your hands together under water (warm if possible)
  2. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (with soap if possible)
  3. Wash hands thoroughly, including wrists, palms, back of hands and under the fingernails
  4. Clean dirt from under the fingernails
  5. Rinse the soap from your hands for at least 10 seconds
  6. Dry hands completely with a clean towel if possible (helps to remove germs)
  7. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  8. Sneezing and coughing are important “spreaders” of germs, too.  Where possible, cough and/or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, cupped hands, or in any other way so as to prevent the showering of virus contaminated droplets into the air and onto surfaces that we all come in contact with.

Keeping these tips in mind as they relate to washing your hands and shielding sneezes and coughs are just one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important that you don’t make the mistake of believing that the flu cannot happen to you. Here are some facts about the seriousness of the flu and how it impacts workforces across the country:

  1. A Queen’s University study found that 33 percent of Canadian adults have a sore throat, cold or flu in any given month.
  2. 20 percent of Canadian adults ignore symptoms altogether.
  3. Employees who come to work sick cost employers twice as much in productivity losses than those who stay home.
  4. In the U.S., lost productivity due to colds costs approximately $25 billion dollars.

The influenza virus can have a staggering impact on productivity and efficiency. It’s not only important that employers communicate to all employees the importance of washing their hands and shielding sneezes and coughs, but also discussing the importance of eating healthy, getting enough sleep, getting immunized, and staying home if they’re sick!  Spreading the flu to co-workers is neither fun nor fair…..and it costs everyone!

If your organization would like to discuss how we can help bring flu immunizations to your workforce, please reach out. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @DriverCheckCA as it relates to the processes you use to keep your team healthy during flu season.

Sources:

  1. Wang, B. & Buffet, E. (1996). The first comprehensive wellness study. Toronto: Buffet Taylor & Associates.
  2. Leung, Wency. Going to work sick is bad for business. The Globe and Mail, 13 November 2011. Web. 10 September 2013.