The Workplace: Technology – Training – Continuity Confidence
Business Owner: We are Pro-business! It’s time to open and stay open.
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It’s not just about COVID-19
America’s businesses have been dealt a devastating blow by the Corona virus pandemic. It is predicted that 7-8 million American businesses will permanently close their doors due to COVID-19 disruptions, over 90% of them small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. This is in addition to the normal business loss caused by the annual influenza season, which is estimated to approach $100 billion. Each year the flu is responsible for over 3 million employee hospital days and over 30 million outpatient medical visits. Employers bear a huge amount of the burden of this lost time and labor. In the age of COVID-19, employers attempting to re-open are finding themselves facing unprecedented litigation expenses. But much of this loss is avoidable through proper workplace health management.
Unfortunately, medical experts tell us the problem is not going away. Though COVID-19 infection levels may wane following the initial epidemic, pockets of infection are expected to pop across the nation as businesses attempt to re-open. A resurgence is anticipated with the arrival of the annual flu season and will be virtually indistinguishable from the flu. And the virus has already begun mutating, making vaccine treatment an ongoing, ever-evolving dynamic, as is the influenza vaccine. The fact is, America—and the world, has entered a new era of epidemiology. We have moved from an era of contagion tolerance to an age of contagion management. Businesses are realizing that viral and bacterial workplace transmissions can be controlled and employee lost time reduced by implementing effective control mechanisms.
- Employees need to be trained about contagion containment as part of a documented, comprehensive workplace pathogen contagion plan and motivated to support it.
- Employers need to implement administrative and engineering workplace control measures, including proper EPA approved sanitizing measures.
- Workers must embrace continuity of contagion prevention measures from the workplace to the home.
These preventative measures are a critical part of employer’s “best effort” litigation defense, establishing effort and intent to provide employees with a workplace as safe as reasonably possible.