Stop The Spread Of Illness At Work [Video]

Illness and infection can be a real headache for employers because germs can spread between staff in close quarters through a simple sneeze, the touch of a hand, or even by using the same equipment.

When contagious illnesses like flu or norovirus strike your business, they can lead to staff absence due to sickness, which reduces the overall productivity of your workforce. With a missing employee or employees, other staff members may have to pick up the slack, so they become overworked and are more susceptible to illness. Alternatively, the company may have to take on temporary staff to cover sickness absence, which could be an unexpected business expense.

So what’s the answer? Encouraging sick employees to return to work too soon can mean they are still contagious so illnesses spread all the more easily, but your business needs the man-power.

That’s why preventative action to reduce the spread of illness is important. Communicate the necessity of simple tasks like handwashing and sanitising through internal communications channels like posters and emails. You could even send employees a link to the video above.

For information about processes and procedures regarding sickness absence, get advice from your occupational health specialist. At OHBM we are more than happy to help you find ways to ensure your business suffers as little as possible from the effects of sickness absence. Just give us a call on 01625 268 609 today.

How To Stop The Spread Of Infectious Illnesses Throughout Your Workplace

Illnesses and infections such as influenza and norovirus are are very contagious, and can spread quickly in a workplace environment, leading to increased levels of sickness absence amongst employees.

Infection can be spread through indirect contact with a person with an illness. For example, when employees touch phones, computers, or other devices, germs can be spread from person to person with ease. Worryingly, some viruses can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours.

In work environments where many people work closely together it can seem as though the spread of these illnesses is unavoidable. However, there are things that can be done to minimise their spread, and their impact on the sickness absence levels within the company.

1. Regular hand washing
A process as simple as cleaning your hands can seriously reduce the amount of germs spread between people. Eighty per cent of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch, and by washing hands frequently and thoroughly, illnesses like these could be reduced.

As an employer consider educating employees about the importance of washing their hands after using the toilet, and before having lunch. The WHO provides the following infographic teaching how to properly wash your hands, and advises that the task should take as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.

How to wash your hands

How to wash your hands – by The WHO

2. Hand santisation
Encouraging the use of hand sanitiser amongst staff can also help prevent against the spread of illness. Consider installing hand sanitiser in company WCs or distributing bottles amongst staff. Non-alcohol based hand sanitiser solutions form a barrier on hands which protect against germs and bacteria, such as norovirus, for several hours.

3. Encourage infected employees to stay at home
To avoid transmission of viruses amongst employees, it is vital that those infected with the illness don’t return to work while they are still ill. Make employees aware that for illnesses like norovirus they should not return to work for 48 hours after their symptoms have gone. Returning early could be the difference between one employee sickness absence, and a large chunk of the workforce.

4. Keep on top of cleaning
If there is an outbreak of infectious illness amongst your staff it could be wise to draft in professional cleaning staff to clean and sanitise the area asap.

Illnesses do happen, but by following these simple rules for effective hygiene your workforce could protect itself against high levels of sickness absence, and the associated impacts to your business. For further information about reducing sickness absence, contact OHBM.