Employers urged to prepare for widespread swine flu outbreak

In National News

By Kimberly Geiger

Tribune Washington Bureau

(MCT)

WASHINGTON — Federal officials urged businesses and other employers Wednesday to prepare for a widespread outbreak of swine flu this fall that could result in high rates of sustained absenteeism and leave crucial posts vacant.

Employers should cross-train workers so that vital functions are covered and must take active steps to ensure that the H1N1 virus that causes the flu does not spread, officials said.

Such steps include aggressively cleaning work areas, encouraging hand-washing and sending employees home at the first hint of flu symptoms.

“We like to praise the Puritan work ethic,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who appeared at a news conference with other top federal officials. But “common sense” would be a better response to the likely outbreak of the flu, he said.

At the same time, federal officials are not sure how bad the outbreak will be.

“In some areas, there may be a lot of flu; in other areas, very little,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Employers should consider curtailing face-to-face meetings and even limit company travel to prevent the possible spread of the disease, Locke said.

Federal officials are urging a “hands and home” approach — keeping hands clean by washing and sanitizing them, and keeping ill workers at home.

“Be responsible and understanding for the absenteeism that needs to occur with this strain of the flu,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, joining Locke and Sebelius at the news conference Wednesday.

———

(c) 2009, Tribune Co.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

If you liked this story, sign up for our weekly newsletter with our top stories of the week.

You may also read!

CSUF baseball faced the TCU Horned Frogs to kick off the MLB4 Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona

CSUF baseball topples TCU in MLB4 tournament opener

In MLB’s inaugural game of the MLB4 Tournament, Cal State Fullerton baseball kept Texas Christian University at bay behind

Read More...
CSUF men's basketball guard Jamal Smith advances the ball upcourt to Khalil Ahmad.

CSUF men’s basketball sweeps season series against LBSU

Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball defeated Long Beach State 85-82 in a game that came down to the final

Read More...
A CSUF baseball player leans over the dugout while watching the team practice.

CSUF baseball have eyes set for success in Arizona

The Cal State Fullerton baseball team is set to kick off their season this weekend as  they will be

Read More...

Mobile Sliding Menu