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Employers play Dr. Mom to slow virus' spread

December 02, 2009
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TRENTON, NJ — Following recommendations from various local and national health organizations, many employers are taking initiative and educating employees on the importance of proper handwashing and other hygiene-related tasks, according to WLFI-TV.
From creating and showing videos on good hygiene to training employees to cover for sick co-workers, employers are pulling out all the stops when it comes to curbing the H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) virus'' spread to ensure their employees stay healthy enough to continue with business as usual, the story stated.
Companies like UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Ball Corporation are arranging for employees with flu-like symptoms or sick family members to work from home if possible, holding fewer in-person meetings and are even discouraging handshakes — anything to lessen the chance of person-to-person transmission, the story noted.
According to the story, these increased precautions were instated because the first line of defense — placing hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, tissues and signage throughout facilities — has not sufficiently halted the advance of the virus.
Jim MacMicking of SunGard Availability Services, said: "Large and mid-sized organizations are not going to go bankrupt [by paying sick employees to stay home]. Small organizations, that could be different.
Despite the good intentions of employers, those employees who have no paid sick leave will, according to Ann Beauchesne, head of emergency preparedness at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, "want to come to work even if they''re sick," the story added.
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