With swine flu anticipated to peak between late August and late September, businesses are being encouraged to visit www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/swineflu to find out what practical steps they can take to protect their staff and customers, and how they can plan for continuity.
The website, provided by Invest Northern Ireland has a dedicated swine flu section which is updated daily, so it provides the most current and relevant information to Northern Ireland businesses as soon as it becomes available.
Among the principal actions recommended on the site are putting up signs to discourage staff and visitors with flu symptoms from entering the workplace. Employers are also encouraged to remind staff of the signs and symptoms of flu, the importance of self-isolation of individuals with swine flu symptoms and the importance of respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene at all times.
Shauna Fenton, Head of Invest NI’s nibusinessinfo.co.uk team, says: “During the peak weeks employee absence rates may reach 12 per cent of the workforce. This will include those who are ill and those who need to take time off to look after others. Businesses are being urged to do their part in controlling the spread of the illness.
“The nibusinessinfo.co.uk website is the primary source of practical information to help businesses to do this. There is also a wealth of information on crisis management and business continuity planning to help them plan for staff absence.”
As well as guidance on preventing spread of the illness, nibusinessinfo.co.uk gives details of how employers and employees can access medical help and anti-viral drugs if needed. It has links to detailed government guidance on preventative measures and to downloadable NHS leaflets that can be circulated to employees.
The site also features sector-specific guidance on swine flu and advice on how to perform a risk assessment.
Anyone who is concerned that they might have swine flu can go online and check their symptoms on www.nidirect.gov.uk, or call the swine flu helpline on 0800 0 514 142.