The government is launching a major information campaign with advertisements and a leaflet being delivered to every home this week. They have already issued a guidance booklet for businesses entitled “Pandemic Flu Guidance for Businesses: Risk Assessment in the Occupational Setting.” This is available to download from http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_097137
You can help reduce the likelihood of infection amongst your workforce by promoting the campaign's messages on good basic hygiene and you can assist by providing plenty of tissues and ensuring your cleaning regimes are particularly thorough - don't forget items many people touch regularly such as doorknobs, light switches and telephones etc.
The advice for those who have returned from an affected area in the last few days and start to feel ill remains essentially the same:
• Stay at home (or send them home if they are at work);
• If possible check the symptoms online at www.nhs.uk or call the swine flu information line on 0800 1 513 513;
• If employees are still concerned that they may have swine flu they should telephone their local GP surgery or call NHS Direct.
You need to bear in mind that you can’t force people to work at home unless they have been quarantined, but you may be able to agree some changes with staff to minimise the potential for spreading the virus.
At present the number of people affected is relatively small, but make sure that your business has a business continuity plan in place now, should you be faced with large numbers of employees off sick or absent to care for sick family members.