It’s hard to not hear the word coronavirus or pandemic in the news over the past month. As cases of the virus continue to multiply across the world, now is the time for employers in the U.S. and around the world to create, revise or review an infectious disease plan, and most importantly share it with employees before it hits close to home.
Employers have a responsibility to keep their employees safe while helping to reduce panic in the wake of a pandemic. While not all organizations have an outbreak plan in place, most have a disaster-preparedness plan on file which can be a great guide to build upon.
Virus information can be found online in abundance, but it’s important to use trusted sources, like the CDC and the World Health Organization sites provide daily updates and specific information for businesses on any disease-related issues from guidelines and FAQs to strategies and prevention steps individuals can take. For HR Teams, SHRM has an informative page on their site around how to prepare the workplace for a communicable disease outbreak.
Topics or situations to consider when building a plan:
- Creating a cross-functional emergency team
- Identifying workplace safety precautions – including deep cleaning
- Enforcing employee travel restrictions
- Encouraging sick employees to stay home
- Reporting exposure - such as employees reporting to employers and employers reporting to public health authorities
- Employee quarantine or isolation details
- Facility shutdowns, if necessary
As the U.S. braces for greater impact, being prepared is best. If you haven’t already, consider implementing an outbreak strategy soon. By informing employees, you can help decrease the spread of the virus and reduce the impact it has on workplace operations.
Please note that this post is intended to provide you with general information about and resources on the novel coronavirus and does not constitute legal or medical advice on this topic.