A company’s employees are one of its most important assets and small business owners must take extra steps to protect them. With threats of a world-wide pandemic of the H1N1 Flu, it is vital that precautions are taken to prevent the spread of this disease. The US Chamber of Commerce recently developed a thorough checklist, “10 Steps Your Business Can Take”. This comprehensive guide will be helpful to business owners as they begin developing a plan to cope with the effects of a severe epidemic.
One of the important components of this plan is to keep your employees informed and to maintain a healthy work environment. An effective way to do this is to provide educational and training programs for all of your workers. One very appropriate topic that should be covered is The Importance of Thorough Hand Washing. A video could be shown or a demonstration be given by an employee with a follow-up demo by all of those who came to the session.
Next, the employees could be given a couple of situations where it would not be possible to wash in the usual manner. Then, all of your workers would be presented with a small bottle of hand sanitizer and instructed in The Proper Use of A Hand Sanitizer. There are both alcohol-based and non-alcohol based hand sanitizers available and it would be wise to have thoroughly researched the type you are providing. Be prepared to discuss the merits of both types but place special emphasis on the importance of good hand hygiene. You could distribute these instructions printed on a colorful card for employees to keep.
You might want to include some studies that have been done on hand washing techniques, which demonstrate that many people do not really do it properly. The backs of the hands are missed, each finger and the area between is not thoroughly washed. Also, hand washing is not done long enough and people do not ‘suds up well.” Dr. Phillip Tierno, Jr. director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center, says that hand sanitizers are “actually better than soap. “He cautions that hand sanitizers need to be used properly and says that they will kill bacteria “right down to their DNA.”
If you have selected an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, you may want to reassure employees, who worry that it may dry out their skin. Dr. Richard Boehler says, “The hand sanitizer tends to be more convenient. If you’re washing your hands 20 to 30 times a day, hand sanitizers seem to do a better job of keeping the skin intact.”
Along with the hand sanitizers at your training sessions, you could distribute a small hand-out, listing the Symptoms of H1N1 Flu. You could also provide Tips on Dealing with the Flu. By taking the time to teach your employees and give them something of value, hand sanitizer, you are saying “Thanks” for their hard work and loyalty.