Monday, April 17, 2006


Below you will find one of the many 'heads-up' lists circulating in the US for how medium to large companies and corporations should start taking steps now, not later, to get ready for what is widely termed to be an "inevitable pandemic."

The consensus in the United States, at least, seems to be a pandemic will strike, if not this year then sometime in the next few years.

The site and the US Department of Health and Human Services is pushing a 'Fend For Yourself' line, as in "Don't wait for the government to help save your business during a pandemic. It's up to you."

Not very reassuring, but with tens of millions of workers being out of action during a pandemic, and with limited resources available, the White House and the US government in general would seem to be left with little choice but to hard-sell the harsh 'Your Problem, You Take Care Of It' mantra.

Here's some of the tips circulating now and being discussed in boardroom across the US :

• Assign a coordinator or team responsible for preparedness and response planning.

• Identify the company's essential functions and employees who perform them. In case of a pandemic, the absentee rate can be 20 percent to 60 percent. Build in redundancy training to ensure others can perform those tasks.

• Expand Web-based tools for employees to work from home and customers to access information.

• Develop and plan for scenarios likely to result in an increase or decrease in demand for your products and services.

• Plan accordingly for interruptions of essential government services like sanitation, water, power and disruptions in food supply.

• Determine potential impact of a pandemic on business-related domestic and international travel.

• Maintain a healthy work environment with adequate air circulation. Promote hand and respiratory hygiene.

• Inform employees about pandemic flu and what the company is doing to prepare.

• Update policies for sick leave, family leave and medical leave.

Source: CDC, Trust for America's Health, BMO Nesbitt Burns

(No link, as yet, to source available online. But you can check for yourself by Googling : 'CDC, Trust For America's Health')

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